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Report from Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s visit to Monaghan County Childcare Committee

Minister Fitzgerald has high praise for the work of the County Childcare Committee

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, visited the Offices of Monaghan County Childcare Committee last Friday, Feb 17th to meet Childcare Workers, Primary School Teachers, Parents and the Childcare Committee’s staff who support them through training, information and advice.


Bernie Bradley, Chairperson and Breda Mc Kenna, Co-ordinator welcomed the Minister on her first visit to the Childcare Committee Offices and Training rooms where she was
given a briefing on innovative projects developed and delivered by the Childcare Committee throughout the County.


The Minister was accompanied by Heather Humphries TD, Sean Conlon, TD, Caoimhghin O Caolain TD, Cllr. Ciara Mc Phillips and Seymour Crawford as she toured the offices and training facilities. Minister Fitzgerald was very impressed with the range of additional projects that have been developed by the Childcare Committee staff and are delivered to children attending pre-school and full day care services throughout Co Monaghan. She spoke at length to Primary school teachers, parents and childcare workers involved in delivering the projects to children and said such supports should be available nationally.


She was delighted to see the pilot Pre-School to Primary School Transition Project in County Monaghan. This is collaboration between the Childcare Committee and Monaghan Integrated Development. The project aims to build the links between the pre-school and Primary school sector. It is currently been piloted with 10 services and primary schools in Co Monaghan and involves a number of “getting to know you” sessions, a workbook to be completed in the pre-school and at home, to be presented to the Primary school teacher at enrollment.


The Minister was very interested in The Chatterbox Service which is a very successful collaboration between the HSE, Dublin North East and Cavan and Monaghan Childcare
Committees. It involves the screening of Pre-school children for Speech and Language delay, training for Childcare workers and the employment of a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant who works directly with children and staff in Pre-schools.


Alexia Mc Kenna, Family Support Manager with the HSE spoke to the Minister about the value of interagency working on parenting supports. The Minister then met parents who have
completed the Swings and Slides Parenting Course and highlighted the value of parenting supports delivered by the local Childcare Committee. Bernie Bradley, Chairperson, gave an
overview of how supporting parents through peace building formed part of the Peace 111 projects funded through Monaghan County Council.


Breda Mc Kenna, Co-ordinator with Monaghan Childcare Committee said that while the majority of Childcare workers in Co Monaghan have reached the required FETAC Level 5, the minimum requirement for Childcare Workers, they continue come out and attend training in the evenings and at weekends. Most of this training is undertaken in their own time and attheir own expense.

The Minister had an opportunity to talk to Development Worker with the CAWT Social
Inclusion Project, Colette Deeney about Health Improvement Programmes for Women in Co
Monaghan.

Minister Fitzgerald expressed delight with both the Respecting Difference and Play for All resources for Pre-schools. Susie Erskine, Development Worker explained that the Respecting
Difference project is a Cross Border Project developed by the Early Years Organisation NI
and delivered to Pre-school services in Counties Monaghan and Cavan with the support of the
Childcare Committee.
Dympna Mc Kenna, Tru-beginnings Childcare Service explained how she implements
the “Play for all” resources in her services. She acknowledged the hard working staff of Monaghan Childcare Committee in supporting services with advice, information and training.

On completing her tour of the Offices, the Minister and her delegation agreed that this was a most informative and enjoyable afternoon.

April 1, 2012 Posted Under Uncategorized

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

QUESTION NO: 7

DÁIL QUESTION
Addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ms. Fitzgerald) by Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn for ORAL ANSWER on 22/03/2012

To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to support local childcare committees to bring professionals such as speech and occupational therapists into preschool services; if she will resource childcare committees to do this; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn T.D.

REPLY
The Chatterbox service, which facilitates early intervention in the area of speech therapy, is a successful collaborative Social Inclusion Project between the Health Service Executive and the Cavan and Monaghan Childcare Committees. The service was first introduced in 2004, funded under the Health Inequalities Fund. It is proving to be an excellent early intervention tool, with a true partnership approach between the agencies involved. Social inclusion services improve access to mainstream services, target services to marginalized groups, address inequalities in access to health services, and enhance the participation and involvement of socially excluded groups and local communities in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of health services.

The Chatterbox service is a primary healthcare project and is funded by the HSE. While I am very supportive of the initiative, responsibility for and funding of primary care services lies with my colleague the Minister for Health. My Department continues to fund childcare committees in the context of their role in supporting the implementation of the three national childcare schemes and childcare services generally.

In addition to the Chatterbox service in Cavan/Monaghan, there have been other pilot initiatives undertaken in other parts of the country to provide speech and language supports within childcare settings. For example, the Early Years Programme delivered by the Childhood Development Initiative in West Tallaght incorporates a speech and language service. This service offers support to children and training and support to parents and pre- school staff. This speech and language service is being independently evaluated and the results will be available later this year.

My Department is undertaking an Early Years Strategy which will represent Ireland’s first national strategy for the services and supports delivered to children from 0 to six years of age. This will provide an opportunity to consider a range of early years initiatives, including those relating to speech and language and occupational therapy, with a view to informing national policy and priorities for further supporting children’s development.

March 23, 2012 Posted Under Uncategorized

Seanad Debates on Early Intervention and Family Support Services

After her visit to the Monaghan County Childcare Committee, the Minister reported to the Seanad debates on Wednesday 7th March 2012.
Early Intervention and Family Support Services:

“There are great opportunities in working with preschools and families at risk in the area of nutrition. We have county child care committees in every county. In Monaghan recently, I was very interested to see these committees are bringing professionals such as speech and occupational therapists into the preschool services, which goes back to the point made about professionals and disability. Those involved find it is a much more efficient way of getting help to families rather than giving appointments to parents at local clinics and hospitals, which may be missed. We need to do much more of that and bring the services to where the children actually are. The ECCE scheme, with 95% of the three year olds in the country attending, gives a real opportunity to do that. I would like to see that initiative being developed throughout the country.”

Check out the full transcript at http://www.kildarestreet.com/sendebates/?gid=2012-03-07.109.0

March 7, 2012 Posted Under Uncategorized

Revised Child Protection Guidelines

The Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald launched the revised children first guidelines on the 15th of July 2011. The guidelines aim to provide direction for organisations on what steps they need to take to keep children safe, and what to do if they have a concern about a child’s safety and welfare.

Minister Fitzgerald highlighted that the days of voluntary compliance are over when it
comes to child protection. These guidelines aim to strengthen current arrangements for child protection in Ireland and will be backed by local implementation from the HSE. Monaghan CCC continues to provide on-going “Keeping Safe, Children First Child Protection
Training”. This training is vital for Childcare Professionals in ensuring that they keep
themselves protected while working with children, and most importantly that children
are protected from harm or abuse.

In conjunction with the introduction of the revised guidelines the Keeping Safe, Children
First Child Protection Training has been updated. The previous 9 hour training has now been
replaced with more in-depth training on vulnerable children in a Disability Module. The
training continues to provide the nine hour training however there is an additional elective
module dealing with additional issues such as, recruitment and management.
This optional module is designed to support staff working in a supervisory or management role, and will be provided as a standalone additional module bringing the complete training for those complete the four modules up to a total of 12 hours.

A specific workshop is also being rolled out for designated liaison person’s within childcare services to ensure they are aware of their roles and responsibilities and that the Child Protection Policy is appropriate for the service.

One free copy of the revised guidelines will be provided to each service that completes the training. Contact Monaghan County Childcare Committee to book a place.

January 25, 2012 Posted Under Uncategorized

CETS Scheme Payments

Pobal is currently in the process of making the 2nd tranche of CETS payments. These payments will be for 10 weeks for both FAS and VEC places.

FAS places will then be fully paid their 25 weeks (15 weeks pre-Christmas and 10 weeks post-Christmas).

VEC places will have been paid 25 weeks and the next payment of CETS for VEC places will be made in March.

Pobal hope to have all payments completed by January 31st.

Should you have any questions relating to the number of places, type of places or number of weeks you have been approved please contact OMCYA.

January 21, 2011 Posted Under Uncategorized