A thousand children and families supported by Tallaght Community Group in 2015

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Aoibheann Coyne celebrates being the 1000th child to enroll in Doodle Den, an after school programme to improve children’s literacy.

Up to a thousand children and families were supported by the Tallaght West based Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) in 2015 – as highlighted in its latest Annual Report.

During 2015, CDI coordinated seven intervention programmes in Tallaght, Limerick, Dublin’s inner city and other parts of the country, covering children’s literacy, speech and language therapy, parenting skills, restorative practices and other community based supports.

CDI CEO Marian Quinn thanked the many people who engaged with the interventions during the year, in particular the community in Tallaght. She said:

“Our thanks to our funders: the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Katherine Howard Foundation and the Community Foundation of Ireland, Pobal and the Centre for Effective Services, and to the staff and volunteers in CDI.

“Our warmest thanks to the community of Tallaght West, to the children who turn up smiling, to the parents who arrange their day to ensure their children get the most from these services, to the local activists who support us and the many other champions who have emerged over the years.”

From September 2014 to August 2015 Doodle Den was delivered to 285 children through 19 groups in Tallaght, Ballyfermot, Dublin City Centre, Limerick and Carlow. An assessment of the service found an average gain of 21% in phonics, 54% in writing skills and 56% in sight vocabulary.
The Chit Chat SLT service was delivered in Tallaght West by two CDI full-time speech and language therapists. There were 121 referrals to the service, of which 72% were boys and 28% were girls. 856 therapy sessions were attended.

During 2015 there were nine Parent Carer Facilitators (PCFs) employed in nine community Early Years Services in Tallaght West. The PCFs offer a mix of formal and informal supports to parents.

The PCFs worked with almost 600 families in Tallaght West, with 177 parents and 245 children being referred to various agencies for support. They also deliver a range of Parents Plus Programmes, including the Early Years Programme and Parenting When Separated, with 41 parents completing courses.

Ms. Quinn said that Doodle Den and Restorative Practices had been successfully scaled up during the year and lots of work had been done to sustain and mainstream CDI’s proven programmes to deliver improved outcomes for children and families.

“We have also developed new programmes with the pilot of Doodle Families, the Antenatal to Three Initiative (ATTI) which is enhancing key interagency relationships and Family Links, a partnership with the Irish Prison Service which works with parents in prison, to improve their relationship with their children and partners during their committal.”

Earlier this year a funding extension of €500,000 was allocated to CDI by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Atlantic Philanthropies to enable it to continue its programmes to Autumn 20