The aim of this strand is to provide information and support for prospective and new parents in relation to healthy pregnancy, being a parent, and children’s developmental needs. Within this strand there are two service levels: Preparing for Life Home Visiting Programme and Preparing for Life Community Midwife.
Within the Preparing for Life Family Mentoring Programme two full time family mentors visit families in their homes offering a specialised service in relation to parenting and child development. The service has a multi access referral system and will endeavour to work in partnership with other agencies that families work with. Baby Massage Courses are also be offered to the community as part of this programme strand.
Preparing for Life Community Midwife is a new service which has been developing since the start of this year. Within this service a HSE appointed midwife will work in the community to provide ante natal and post natal supports such as “Health Pregnancy” workshops and post natal supports to meet the needs of the community. This service will also aim to support mental health in pregnancy and early years, and support referral pathways to the PFL Family Mentoring Programme and the local Community Mothers Programme.
Healthy Pregnancy and New Parents
Both services uphold earlier intervention and prevention strategies by working with the family to achieve positive outcomes from the earliest stages of the child’s life. Within the Department of Children and Youth’s Policy Framework 2014-2020, earlier intervention and prevention is listed as one of the document’s ‘Transformational Goals’. It states that “Prevention and early intervention initiatives aim to address the early indicators of developing problems and to support a trajectory to more positive outcomes, with a focus on breaking intergenerational disadvantage”.
Better Finglas recognises the importance of offering high quality supports to parents. A key principle outlined in the Child and Family Agency’s ‘Investing in Families’ document, states that parenting support should be viewed as a crucial aspect of wider preventative work. This strand aims to support parents in having aspirations for their child and to being proactive in their parenting roles. Family mentors will offer a service to parents that is accessible and works in partnership with them. The desired outcomes contribute to improvements in parents’ psychological health, parenting skills and enjoyment of parenting.
The service that is provided from pregnancy and early childhood enables families to meet the developmental needs of their child. This contributes to improvements in children’s physical, psychological and emotional health, and in their educational, speech and motor skills. As a long term outcome, it is projected that there will be an increase in parental knowledge of child development and children’s needs.