Press Release

Hanafin launches final Springboard evaluation report

Ms Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister for Children, launched the Final Springboard Evaluation Report Promoting Family Well-being through Family Support Services on Thursday 13th December 2001 in the Alexandra Hotel, Dublin.

The Springboard Family Support projects for children at risk is the first major family support initiative of its kind in Ireland. It was established by the Department of Health and Children in 1998. There are now 17 projects established throughout the country aimed at supporting vulnerable families.

Minister Hanafin said “The evaluation shows that parents and children experienced considerable improvements in well-being while attending Springboard. Virtually every parent and child attributed their improved well-being to the intervention of Springboard.”

The evaluation of the projects by Mr Kieran McKeown, shows that:

  • in the opinion of Health Boards, the number of children at moderate to high-risk of abuse or going into care was halved;
  • in the opinion of parents and teachers, a quarter of the children are less burdened by their problems while a third are less burdensome to others;
  • Springboard was perceived as been helpful by 80% of children and parents;
  • The proportion of parents showing signs of stress has fallen from 65% to 37%;
  • Children, parents and professionals believe that Springboard has improved personal and family life for parents and children.

The Minister stated that this Government was committed to supporting families, that between 1997 and 2001, an additional£99million has been invested in child welfare and protection. A further £37million has been allocated for 2002. Minister Hanafin pointed out that Health Boards need to get the balance right between Family Support Services, Child Protection Services and Alternate Care.

“We need to ensure that families can access the services that they need, when they need them, close to where they live. Health Boards should further develop partnership models within the families since the main providers and sources of support to families in need can best be found within their own families,” she said. The Minister added “The Springboard projects are a good example of co-operation between the voluntary bodies and the health boards.”

The Minister also announced that 4 new Springboard Projects will be established next year, located on the basis of need within Rapid disadvantaged areas and additional family support services will be developed by the health boards in 2002.