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 PEIN POST       

A quarterly newsletter from the Prevention and Early Intervention Network  September  2021

PEIN opens new HQ in Limerick

A new team member and a new address 

 In a year that has been characterised by change and adapting to new ways of doing things, some things are looking different here in PEIN HQ as well. The PEIN team has a new plus one and we are delighted to introduce Stacey O’Halloran, our National Administrator. Having worked as part of the ABC Start Right Limerick team, Stacey is very familiar with the child and family sector and the fundamental role of prevention and early intervention. She is also quite the oracle when it comes to databases, financial administration and all things Harry Potter. If you want to contact Stacey at any stage, you will find her at

While the pandemic has thrown continuous curveballs, there has also been some real learning, particularly in relation to how we work. Remote working means that the PEIN office could be relocated without any interruption or significant changes, so myself (National Co-ordinator) and Stacey look after PEIN HQ from the home of the Liam MacCarthy Cup (We were never going to be able to mention Limerick without a GAA reference).

The current office on Windmill Lane is temporary, until the lifting of restrictions allows our many community and voluntary colleagues to assess their space requirements. As a membership organisation that works within the child and family sector, we hope to base the PEIN office within available space in a like-minded organisation in the New Year.

In the midst of so many exciting changes, our commitment to our members remains constant. You’ll find us via e-mail or at the end of the phone (087 762 6831) so please feel free to get in touch. We’re also always happy to jump on Zoom and say hello.

Later this month, we will be sending out a survey to all members. As well as a temperature check on what we’re doing well or not so well, it’s a great opportunity to hear your thoughts and ideas. Your participation in the survey helps to guide PEIN’s work so make sure you tell us what you think.

Maria O'Dwyer
National Coordinator, Prevention and Early Intervention Network

PEIN calls for support for

children post-COVID


The Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) on Friday May 28 held a member’s think-in to share experiences on the long-term impact of the pandemic on children and families and the likely rise of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).  Research clearly shows that preventing ACEs – or indeed offsetting their impact – can improve health across the whole life course, enhancing wellbeing and productivity while reducing pressures and costs on health, social, criminal justice and educational systems. 

Consulting with members who work with children and families, PEIN found some of the key issues identified by members include: 

· During school closures, inconsistent levels of support were offered to children, with those children facing the greatest challenges being more likely to be offered less supports 

· High levels of concern about the impact of isolation from extended family, peers and services for children in families where there are relationship difficulties and domestic violence 

· An increase in at-home alcohol use which can cause distress for family members in a range of different ways - from young children who might be anxious or withdrawn, to teenagers who may be acting out, to parents themselves who might be struggling with or falling into addiction 

· Technology poverty – families struggling to have enough devices and sufficient internet connection to allow all family members to engage with their education, employment and leisure 

· The major impact of loss of supports services and routine for children with intellectual disabilities 

· The additional challenges faced by already vulnerable children including Traveller children, migrant children and children living in homeless accommodation 

· Greater levels of isolation experienced by children in rural settings. 

Given these issues, PEIN is calling for a new children's strategy to provide a clear pathway to address young people's needs after the pandemic.

Read PEIN's full letter on this topic published in the Irish Examiner here.

Click here to join PEIN now
National parenting model update

Over the past ten months, PEIN has been very actively engaged in the development of the National Model for Parenting Support Services. The process has been led by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and involved working collaboratively with a range of colleagues from the HSE, Tusla, CYPSC and the Parenting Network. It fulfils a commitment in First 5: the Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and Their Families.

In spite of the pandemic, the work has progress very well under the capable leadership of Ciara Pidgeon and Zara Lafferty in the DCEDIY’s Parenting Support Policy Unit, supported by Catherine Whitty from the Centre for Effective Services.

The process has involved:

· Frequent and intense online meetings of a Working Group (with PEIN represented by Francis Chance)

· Regularly reviews of and feedback on the progress by a Challenge Panel (with PEIN represented by Marian Quinn)

· Participation in a range of sub-group and stakeholder consultation processes

· Consultations with parents and with children and young people

· Literature reviews on best practice in parenting support services in Ireland and internationally

· A National Public Consultation process with over 500 responses, including almost 300 from parents.

PEIN’s participation in the Working Group and Challenge Panel was supported by an internal Reference Group with 11 members who volunteered from across PEIN’s membership and included people from Cork to Donegal and from Limerick to Dublin. This proved to be a very effective member participation mechanism which we should consider replicating in the future.

Key feedback from parents was that they were not clear where to look for support and found services to be fragmented and difficult to access.

PEIN hopes that the final National Model will lead to:

· Greater engagement with parents in assessing the type of supports that they need

· A national framework for the planning and delivery of services at national and local levels

· Clarity about where parents should go to seek advice and supports – ideally a single national website for parents that combines quality evidence-based advice and up-to-date information on local services

· A continuum of parenting supports from information and advice to universal supports for all parents and to a range of intensive targeted supports for those parents who need them

· Easier access to services and a reduction in parents feeling stigmatised if they need to seek help – “it takes a village to raise a child”!

· Increased and more effective investment in supporting parents

Achieving these aims will take time, so PEIN has proposed an initial period of phased service development over the next 5 years.

The DCEDIY is currently finalisation the model and developing an implementation plan, in consultation with other Government Departments and State Agencies. It is hoped that the National Model will go to Government and be launched in the Autumn.

PEIN will continue to support the process to finalise and implement the National Model, in order to ensure better outcomes for children, families and communities.

Click here for information on the development of the model

Francis Chance

ABC grows for the future
On Friday the June 4, an online launch of Let’s Grow Together! Infant & Childhood Partnerships CLG took place, hosted by “The Two Norries” James Leonard and Timmy Long.

Let’s Grow Together! incorporates the prevention and early intervention programme Young Knocknaheeny, taking care of its future sustainability and development with the vision that “Our communities are places where children experience happy, healthy and thriving childhoods that last a lifetime, and no child is left behind”.

The organisation was honoured that An Taoiseach Micheál Martin officially launched the organisation, recognising its significant contribution to Cork City; to the field of prevention and early intervention; and Infant Mental Health. An Taoiseach also launched the organisations’ Strategic Plan 2021-2025.

Expert panellists included Tanya Ward from the Children’s Rights Alliance, who launched the “Many Voices of Let’s Grow Together” Report; and children and parents involved in the work and celebrating their community. Katherine Harford, Manager of Let's Grow Together! also gave an overview of the core work and the importance aspects of prevention and early intervention. A lasting quote from the launch was “babies are born with “intention” they can see and also expect to be seen, they can hear but they also expect to be heard”. – Yvette Blanchard.

‘Wrestling with Anxiety Octopus’

PEIN members in the media
We know that collaborative working yields benefits for all involved and when organisations work together, really good things happen. Back in July, the Sunday Independent ran an article on the effects of lockdowns on children’s mental health. Colin Murphy’s piece ‘Wrestling with Anxiety Octopus’, highlighted the fact that anxiety is the most common mental health issue in the under 12s. While flagging the need for additional resources in Primary Care services, it also championed the ‘everyday supports that should be available to children through their homes, social networks and communities’.
In doing so, the article featured a collaboration between Better Finglas (an ABC site with Barnardos as the lead agency) and Triple P (Positive Parenting Programme). The latter’s ‘Fear-Less’ programme was used, to support the management of anxiety in the family through the practice of flexible thinking.
Murphy concluded that the type of education provided through the programme should be mainstreamed, as a way of alleviating some of the current mental health crisis.

The most poignant element of the article was the fact that the contributor himself participated in the programme, having realised that, like himself, his young daughter was experiencing panic attacks. Rather than a write-up, therefore, the article was a testimonial.

Triple P is our newest PEIN member and like all ABCs, Better Finglas is a long-standing member. It is fantastic to see an evidence-based programme delivered through an experienced local service because this is the kind of collaboration that helps to achieve better and more sustainable outcomes for children and families. 
Full original article is available here.

We want to hear from you - do you have a story to share or something you'd like to highlight with the PEIN membership? If so email and you might make the next edition!
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Prevention & Early Intervention Network · Coolock Development Centre · 17 Bunratty Drive, Dublin 17 · Dublin, Co. Dublin D17 WP30 · Ireland

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