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Initiative to support disadvantaged children receives Presidential endorsement

Resource type: News


29th September 2010:  President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, attended the Tallaght Stadium today to mark the success of the Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative, which will support more than 2,000 children through its innovative programmes by 2011. The €15million initial phase of the project has provided support to children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Dublin including Killinarden, Fettercarin and Jobstown.

The Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative is a groundbreaking approach to supporting children in disadvantaged areas. The initiative, aimed at creating better prospects for young people, applies leading scientific and best practice models from around the world to ensure the success and measurability of the project and also to enable replication in other similarly disadvantaged areas in Ireland. The initiative undertakes rigorous evaluations of the services with the aim of bringing about great change in the lives of children in the Tallaght West area.

President Mary Aleese speaking atTWCDI

President Mary McAleese, speaking at the event said ‘The Story So Far’ gives a fascinating flavour of the complex and important work that goes on each day in this community to make children strong and to enrich family life.  It’s a great story of confidence built up, of literacy problems tackled and overcome, of healthier bodies, healthier minds and healthier families; a story of empowerment, problem-solving and community-building. Thanks to the integrated work of Tallaght West CDI, the shared community approach to child rearing gives an intensity of focus and effort which has a deep reach and wider impact.  Alongside that work, there is of course an evaluation strand which everyone is eagerly looking forward to, for if this is successful as it certainly seems to be, then what you are doing here will be in the text books of tomorrow and much more importantly will be the inspiration for other communities and a game-changer for many other children.’

President with children from Sacred Heart National School, Tallaght

The Childhood Development Initiative in Tallaght West began rolling out its services in 2004 and is unlike any other of its kind in Ireland, It runs a variety of vital programmes to improve the health, learning and safety of children including:

  • Early Childhood Care and Education: a pre-school programme to support children in meeting their developmental milestones and improve school preparedness including workers visits to homes, parent education, speech and language therapy, dental and nutritional care
  • Doodle Den Programme: an intensive programme aimed at improving childhood literacy for Senior Infant children;
  • MateTricks Programme: a fun, educational programme aimed at improving the social skills of 4th class students
  • Healthy Schools Programmes: a programme aimed at improving children’s health and access to primary care services
  • Community Safety Initiative: a programme aimed at building community safety through community residents, Gardaí and the local authority.
  • A Safe and Healthy Place Initiative: a partnership between CDI and South Dublin County Council to create a child friendly neighbourhood for Tallaght West

“Ireland is currently facing a very challenging situation and our children represent one of the most vulnerable groups, particularly those in disadvantaged areas. Recent reports from the Economic and Social Research Institute suggest that poverty levels are to significantly increase and that the most vulnerable groups will face a greater risk of consistent poverty. Today is an important day for us, it is an acknowledgement of the success of the first five years of the project and recognition of the need for the continuation of the various services which are clearly meeting a need in the area, and the extension of those programme elements which are demonstrated as being most effective.” commented Noelle Spring, Chair of the Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative Board

President McAleese joined hundreds of people as part of “The Story So Far” event hosted by the Childhood Development Initiative.  “The Story So Far” seminars ran throughout the day, offering a unique opportunity to hear from researchers, policy makers and practitioners about the innovative evidence based approach being undertaken at Tallaght West.  Almost 400 people attended various sessions on Early Childhood Care and Education, Community Safety, Literacy, Pro-Social Behaviour and Healthy Schools.

The Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative has received funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA), since 2005 and is developing a strategic plan for the dissemination of learning, cultivation of services and policy implications.

The Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative is an Atlantic grantee.