Press Release

66 Family Support Workers made permanent – Hanafin

“Sixty-six family support workers have been made permanent as a result of the success of the Springboard projects,” Minister for Children, Mary Hanafin T.D. said today (Tuesday, July 31, 2001).

Springboard is a community-based, early intervention initiative which is specifically focused on supporting families with children who are at risk of going into care, dropping out of school or getting into trouble with the law.

Minister Hanafin added that health boards have been notified to give permanent status to these workers, as the Springboard initiative was going from strength to strength.

“The Springboard projects were set up by this Government as a pilot scheme, and there are now 17 such projects throughout the country. Future job security was an issue for the staff involved, but now these fears have been allayed, so that families can benefit from ongoing support,” Minister Hanafin said.

“Research linked to the Springboard projects has proven that family support works, and that investment has resulted in long-term benefits,” she added.

A Report entitled ´Family well-being and family policy: a review of research on benefits and costs´ has recently been published. The purpose of the research, which was conducted by Kieran McKeown and John Sweeny, Social and Economic Research Consultants, was to review an extensive literature on family well-being, much of it from an economic perspective and reflect on its implications for family policy in Ireland. This review of literature on family well-being identified four action areas which are known to improve the well-being of families. These are: addressing child poverty, developing and delivering quality services, reducing family conflict and instability, and supporting marriages.

This is the second policy publication to emerge from the research undertaken for the Springboard Family Support Initiative, with ´A Guide to what Works in Family Support Services´, launched by Minister Hanafin last October.

“Through its Family Support pilot projects, Springboard is continuing to prove itself very effective in providing support to vulnerable families,” the Minister said. This is highlighted in an additional booklet entitled ´Springboard: Indicators of Quality in Family Support Services´, also recently published.

“The funding provided for the development of Family Support Services emphasises the Government´s commitment to the further strengthening of policies and services to support families in all areas which have a positive impact on family life,” Minister Hanafin concluded.