Minister for Children & Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald TD visited the Town Hall on Monday afternoon to present certificates to 60 parents who have completed an intensive 14-week parenting programme as part of Dundalk’s Incredible Years programme.
The programme is part of the town’s Model of an Integrated Delivery of Services for Children (Dundalk MIDS4Children), the unique model of good practice reflecting multi-agency and cross community co-operation, which delivers positive and effective outcomes for children in the Dundalk area.
These positive outcomes include protecting children’s welfare, school attendance and retention, increased parental partnerships, crèche and pre-school provision, reduction of the number of children in care, improvements in the quality of life for the family unit and the raising of standards of literacy and numeracy in marginalised communities.
The Incredible Years Programme has been rolled out across eight schools in Dundalk – Redeemer Boys and Girls schools, St Joseph’s NS, Gaelscoil Dundealgan, Castletown Girls School, De La Salle Boys NS, Scoil Eoin Baiste and St Nicholas’ NS.
The parenting programmes commenced following teacher/school training. Four parenting programmes were rolled out in 2010.
Minister Fitzgerald told the parents being acknowledged: “Research tells us that successful families are the building blocks of a strong, cohesive society. Research also tells us that parenting is key. As Minister I want to do all I can to support children through supporting parents.
“I wish to congratulate all parents who completed the course and I hope that this programme’s support will aide you in your all-important role as parents in guiding your children’s development and ensuring their wellbeing”.
Paula Gribben, RAPID Co-ordinator, Dundalk Town Council said Minister Fitzgerald’s visit was an opportune time to hold the latest graduation ceremony.
“This is the Minister’s first visit to the town and we felt what better event for her to be a part of as Minister for Children. The Dundalk Incredible Years programme is a prime example of how teaching staff and parents are investing more time and effort than ever in helping children reach their potential.”
Following the graduation ceremony, Minister Fitzgerald and invited guests watched a brief DVD presentation on “The Journey of a Child – An integrated Approach: Making it Work in Dundalk”.