Limerick City Children’s Services Committee
Launch of "How are Our Kids?": Experiences and Needs of Children and Families in Limerick City, with a Particular Emphasis on Limerick’s Regeneration Areas
Jan O’Sullivan, Minister of State, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Planning, officially launched the Limerick City Children’s Services Committee report, “How are Our Kids?: Experiences and Needs of Children and Families in Limerick City, with a Particular Emphasis on Limerick’s Regeneration Areas” on March 5, 2012 in Thomond Park. The report provides a solid evidence base on the needs and experiences of children and families across Limerick City, and it will have an impact on how services are delivered to meet those needs. It was carried out by Dr. Eileen Humphreys, University of Limerick and Professor Des McCafferty and Dr. Ann Higgins, Mary Immaculate College.
The project was co-funded by Limerick Regeneration Agency and Atlantic Philanthropies.
The research highlights the following priorities:
- Improving levels of parental education for those with low levels of educational attainment. Based on observations from the fieldwork, many parents have learning difficulties, low levels of literacy and have had negative experiences themselves in education
- Improving the emotional health and well-being of parents, including support with conflict resolution, and promoting better quality of (adult) relationships
- Supporting parents to access relevant training and employment opportunities, and providing on-going support for retention and progression in education, training and employment;
- Services to support improved parental mental health
- Multifaceted interventions to improve the physical and social environment and address safety issues in the neighbourhood. These should include incentives and sanctions to encourage more civic behaviour and collective responsibility
- On-going support to encourage parenting styles and strategies associated with the best outcomes for children.
The research concludes that, “Given the multi-faceted nature of children’s needs, one of the clearest messages from the research, one that emerges strongly from both the qualitative and quantitative analyses, is the need for better integration of services. It is essential to get to a situation in terms of service delivery where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Kevin O’Farrell, HSE Childcare Manager, Limerick, and Chair of the Limerick City Children’s Services Committee, stated that, “This research is very welcome in terms of the quality of data and analysis it presents, but it also presents great challenges to all of us who are working with children and families across Limerick City. Many of our families are struggling to meet their needs and the needs of their children. They are struggling with issues around mental health, finances, addiction, environmental conditions, safety and security and education. It is our collective responsibility---policy makers, service planners and providers, communities, parents and family networks-- to work together to ensure that all of Limerick City’s children have the opportunity to meet their full potential.”
Mr. O’Farrell added that he would like to thank the two funding agencies for recognising the need for this strong evidence base, the researchers for providing such an outstanding report and, above all, the parents and children who took the time to share their experiences.
Pictured at the recent launch of ‘How Are Our Kids’ were Kevin O’Farrell, HSE; Dr. Ann Higgins, Mary Immaculate College; Minister Jan O’Sullivan; Dr. Eileen Humphreys, UL; Professor Des McCafferty, Mary Immaculate College; Brendan Kenny, Limerick Regeneration Agency