Childhood Initiative has enhanced the lives of more than 13,000 people

By Mary Dennehy

THE life-long and community-wide benefits of investing in children and families was evident at the 10th anniversary of the Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative – which has enhanced the lives of more than 13,000 local people through a €22m, decade-long investment into prevention and early intervention.

On Tuesday, the community gathered to celebrate the work of the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI), which since 2007 has been delivering a range of programmes to families living in Tallaght West.

CDI celebration 21092017

This work has not only positively shaped life in Tallaght, but has informed, advised and campaigned at a national level, with CDI publishing 13 research evaluation reports, 14 policy briefs, three implementation guides, three community reports and numerous other evidence-based documents.

According to Marian Quinn, the CEO of CDI, Tallaght West is a stronger community today as a result of a comprehensive programme of prevention measures and early interventions, which were co-funded by the Government and The Atlantic Philanthropies, between 2007 and 2016.

Some of these programmes include, parental supports; children’s literacy and numeracy; children’s speech and language; training adults and young people in using restorative practices in schools and the community and strengthening community safety.

Around 8,200 parents and adults have engaged with CDI over the past ten years, 3,800 children and 840 staff from local schools and community services – all of whom have made the work of CDI possible.

According to stats released by CDI, more than 4,500 families have also received parental support, 820 children have benefited from speech and language therapy while 1,440 have participated in literacy and numeracy.

CDI also promotes restorative practices, which trains people of all ages how to deal with conflict effectively – training which 2,000 adults and 190 young people are now using in their everyday life and are passing on to their school friends, work colleagues and neighbours.

At the 10th anniversary, which was a real celebration of communities working together, Ms Quinn said that CDI’s work is resourced up until the middle of 2018 – with the initiative calling for a “longer term view and commitment” from Government.

RTÉ Broadcaster and Tallaght native John Murray, who was a special guest at Tuesday’s anniversary celebration and chaired an energetic panel discussion, said: “I am delighted to recognise the important work happening here in Tallaght and in other communities aimed at improving outcomes for children.

“It is very clear that what’s happening here has been a real team effort with the involvement of a wide range of organisations, statutory agencies and, very importantly, people living in the community.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to publicly thank them all for their hard work, their focus and their commitment to improving the future for our children.”

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