Student Parent Support Service
Mary Immaculate College provides a professional support service to students who experience an unplanned or crisis pregnancy and any student who becomes a parent during the course of their studies and students who start college as a parent. MIC is the only Irish third-level college with a dedicated support service for this cohort of students.
The service is available on a part-time basis at MIC Limerick, with a range of confidential and non-judgemental support options, including one-to-one and group support, in addition to wrap around supports such as information resources, a dedicated Facebook page as well as linking and referral with other MIC supports and external agencies as appropriate. A key objective of the service is to ensure that students are aware of and able to access all the supports and entitlements available to them, so that they are able to continue and complete their third-level education.
Due to Covid-19, the Student Parent Support Service is currently working remotely with the following changes to service delivery for Autumn Semester 2020/2021:
- One-to-one support by appointment will be offered via Telephone and Microsoft Teams as per individual agreement with the Student Parent Support Service Coordinator and student;
- A virtual ‘drop-in’ will take place on Wednesdays from 11am-12.30pm. During this time slot, the Coordinator will be available via text, telephone and email to deal with queries and concerns, or to link students with other supports as appropriate, without the need for an appointment;
- The service will continue to work in cooperation with other student support services at MIC and external supports;
- On a needs basis and dependent on public health guidelines, the Coordinator may offer face-to-face support.
For up-to-date information on support options, please email Nicola.Hurley@mic.ul.ie and keep an eye on the Service’s Facebook page.
One-to-One Support by Appointment:
One-to-one support comprises practical and emotional support, and the provision of information, signposting, linking and referral within MIC supports and external supports. This is confidential, non-judgemental and student-centred.
Availability: Monday and Tuesday during Semester time. Text ‘APPOINTMENT’ to 087-9501160 or email Nicola.Hurley@mic.ul.ie
Group Support - ‘Drop-in’ Space and Facilitated Networking
The Student Parent Support Service Coordinator facilitates a weekly drop-in space, which offers group support and an opportunity for student parents across different programmes of study to meet and share common concerns.
Wednesday mornings from 11.00-12.30pm during Semester time.
Students are encourage to read the Information Guide for Student Parents and Expectant Parents at Third Level which includes an overview of practical and financial supports; however, students are advised to check www.mygov.ie regularly for accessible and up-to-date information due social welfare changes as a result of Covid-19.
For a helpful first point of contact for students who are considering engaging with the service or as a first point of information on what the service offers for students and staff alike, see the: Handbook for Students who experience Crisis Pregnancy and Expectant/Student Parents at MIC.
The SPSS is based in T307 (within the Medical Centre). Call +353 61 204347 or text ‘APPOINTMENT’ to 087-9501160.
In a College that has at the core of its mission a commitment to provide "an environment where all have freedom and opportunity to achieve their full potential", the Student Parent Support Service achieves just that.
A dedicated Facebook page, Mary I Student Parents Facebook page, encourages students to stay connected and up-to-date with matters of relevance to them within MIC and external supports
The service, which began as a pilot project, was established by Mary Immaculate College in October 2007 following a successful funding application to the HSE by Mary Immaculate College Students’ Union (MISU). The service was initially offered on a two-day week basis and has evolved considerably over the last 11 years. The objective was to build on existing supports through a partnership approach between MISU, the MIC Access Office and Health Promotion to offer students a dedicated service to support their emotional and practical needs.
The role of the Student Parent Coordinator was, and is, to provide "360 degree holistic support to students experiencing crisis pregnancy and student parents in the event of them experiencing difficulties in any area of student life".
Research & Development
The experiences of the service have been disseminated nationally through an Information Guide for Expectant Student Parents and Student Parents at Third Level, which was launched in November 2012. In addition to the Information Guide being circulated to all third level colleges in the country, it was also published on the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme website.
In November 2018, a revised version Handbook for Students who experience Crisis Pregnancy and Expectant Student Parents at Mary Immaculate College has incorporated the personal experiences of current and recently graduated students with a greater focus on self-care, building resilience and encouraging support seeking and engagement with support services. This focus has become central to the work of the service in empowering expectant and student parents to achieve their goals.
"I found that the service was readily accessible and inclusive, it allowed me to connect with other student parents and learn about their experiences. The service helped me through many difficult times, in terms of both finance and emotional support."
"The support of the service Coordinator was invaluable to me throughout my time as a student, it provided me with a place where I could talk about anything that might be on my mind or causing me stress, the knowledge that I was not alone in my struggles and the confidence to believe I would be successful."
Lawlor, J. et al (2015.) Student Parent Support Service at Mary Immaculate College: An Outcome Evaluation for the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme. School of Nursing and Midwifery. Dublin: Trinity College.
- Research & Development
- Student Feedback