CDI aims to break the cycle of child poverty

By Mary Dennehy

A TALLAGHT organisation is driving change for children both locally and nationally, with more than 1,000 children and parents supported by the community-based initiative between 2014 and 2015.

Based in West Tallaght, the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) aims to break the cycle of child poverty and to improve outcomes for children and young people through a series of programmes, which also have positive outcomes for families and the wider community.

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Literacy is high on CDI’s agenda and an assessment of the service between 2014 and 2015 found an average gain of 21 per cent in children’s phonics, a way of teaching children to read using letter sounds, 54 per cent in their writing skills and 56 per cent in sight vocabulary.

There were also 121 referrals to the Chit Chat early intervention speech and language service and 856 therapy sessions attended.

CDI’s Parent Carer Facilitators worked with 578 families in Tallaght West, with 170 parents and 400 children referred to various agencies for support.

And, CDI’s Parent Plus course was completed by 41 parents while coffee mornings focused on speech and language were attended by 80 parents.

The beauty of CDI’s programmes is the lasting impact they have on the lives of children, their families and the wider community – with the restorative practice programme a perfect example.

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St Mark’s Junior and Senior Schools in Springfield has embraced restorative practice, a new way of thinking which teaches children, teachers and parents to listen and develop empathy, fairness, problem-solving and conflict resolution.

Receiving training and continuous support from CDI, St Mark’s SNS Principal Richie Walsh told The Echo that adopting the practice has helped to sustain a strong, happy school – which has a knock-on effect in the wider community.

Mr Walsh said: “It’s all about giving the kids skills to deal with conflict in a restorative way by actively developing good relationships and by resolving conflict in a healthy manner.

“We all have high expectations of each other here in St Mark’s and we give each other a high level of support to meet those expectations.

“Ultimately, restorative practice in a school gives the child a voice, everybody’s story is important and when there is conflict both sides of the story are listened to.”

He added: “CDI have been mazing in their training and support and they work closely with us.

“Here in the school, children are happier, there has been an improvement in attendance and suspension eradicated as we all learn to deal with our emotions and bring the human factor into our everyday.”

CDI’s programmes between 2014 to 2015 were funded under the Government’s Area Based Childhood Programme (ABC), the Katherine Howard Foundation and the Community Foundation of Ireland.

For further details visit or call 4940030.



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