Press Release

Minister Lenihan launches “Parents Plus Early Years Programme”

The Minister for Children Brian Lenihan launched on October 15th the new parenting video and course materials “Parents Plus Early Years Programme” at the Mater Hospital, Dublin.

The Parents Plus Early Years Programme is a practical and positive guide to parenting aimed at parents of children aged 1 – 6 yrs and covers a wide range of topics.

The Minister spoke of the important and difficult role of parenting and said “Parenting is one of the most important and difficult roles one can have in life. It is one role, however which is often taken for granted. The majority of parents struggle through the process learning as they go. They are usually influenced by past exposure to both good and bad practices. It is both comforting and supportive for them to feel they have some form of guidance to turn to.”

The Minister said that he was pleased the Programme is also suitable for children with special needs including Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The Minister referring to the report of a working group on Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services said “The Health Strategy – Quality and Fairness – A Health System for you – includes a commitment to the implementation of the recommendations of the Working Group´s Report.”

Referring to training materials parent education he said “Teachers and Social Workers, Psychologists, and many others working in Childcare all need to have up to date and appropriate training materials in parent education. These Professionals in turn work with parents and other adults involved in childcare. It is particularly important and beneficial to have Irish material such as the Parents Plus Programme to add to the range of such supports.”

The Minister spoke of his commitment to family support services and stated that “Since 1997 approximately €178 million additional revenue funding has been invested through the Health Boards in the development of child welfare and protection services. This includes an additional €9 million for 2003. The dominant focus in child care services since the early 1990s has been on the protection and care of children who are at risk. This policy has shifted in recent times to a more preventive approach to child welfare involving support to families and individual children, and the aim is to avoid the need for further more serious interventions later on.

Speaking further on his commitment he went on to say “I have also established a Review of Family Support Services. This Review includes Parenting Supports. It will map out a national policy and plan for the future development of family support services by health boards. This Review will report in Autumn 2004.”

The Minister congratulated “Parents Plus” a community trust committed to developing educational materials for parents and children. Any profits made on the sale of their videos are re-invested in developing new materials and programmes. He wished all involved with the programme, every success.