The inclusion of Finglas in a new children and parenting initiative is to be very much welcomed.
Under the area-based children’s programme, or ABC Programme, it is proposed to provide much better services for parents and children in Finglas South, Finglas West and part of Finglas East. The funding, which is co-sponsored by Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs, will allow for a new range of services to be designed to meet local needs. It will be modelled on the very successful youngballymun Initiative with an emphasis on child mental health, supports for parents, and early intervention in literacy, numeracy, and identifying health issues. If it receives final approval, the initiative will be led by Barnardos.
The inclusion of Finglas follows a lot of work by a consortium called Better Finglas. It is made up of local groups, local schools, the City Council and State agencies. Over several recent months a comprehensive plan was drawn up and an application was made to the Department.
I fought hard to have a commitment to such funding contained in the Programme for Government. I am glad to see that this is one promise the Government appears to be delivering on. Early intervention programmes are vital if we are ever to break the cycle of poverty and exclusion in large parts of Dublin. It is about giving kids a chance in life and preventing problems before they begin. And it saves money in the long run.
A huge effort has gone into getting the project to this stage and Barnardos, Finglas Drugs Task Force, Dublin City Council, local HSE staff, all of the local schools and other groups deserve a lot of credit for getting it this far. Services such as early education and parenting supports can make a huge difference and it’s important that we see these implemented as soon as possible.