An evaluation of a Limerick family support service has found that it provided significant benefits for children who have experienced an increase in confidence, are adapting better in school and have built closer relationships with those around them.
More than 80 families are involved in the Barnardos Homemaker Family Support Service which was established by Limerick Children and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC) in 2013 as part of a citywide Parenting Strategy.
The service became part of a wraparound approach to children’s needs in the ABC Start Right Programme Limerick, as well as evolving to a wider remit across Limerick in partnership with Tusla and Limerick Regeneration.
The service provides home-based family support that helps parents in a practical way in their day to day tasks at home.
The main findings of the evaluation were:
Children reported feeling happier in themselves
Children were better able to express their needs
Parents were feeling better able to manage stressful situations in the home
Parents reported improvement in the home environment
Melinda Hughes, Barnardos Homemaker Service Coordinator said: “Our research at Barnardos found that the Homemaker Family Support Service was beneficial to families in Limerick City and surrounding areas. Being a parent is tough and when there are added pressures on the family. Sometimes parents can become overwhelmed, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of routine in the home, and keeping the family home going can create additional pressures and a little help can go a long way. However, we are delighted to say that the families that worked with the service reported a marked improvement in their day to day lives.”
Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said the Homemaker Service has provided over 80 families in Limerick with support and tools to improve their family life and relationships.
“Children involved in the service have seen an increase in confidence, are adapting better in school and have built closer relationships with those around them. It’s heartening to see family’s go from strength to strength.
“Intervening early to prevent issues escalating to crisis point is more effective in improving outcomes for children and families. Parents who received a service found that their time with the service encouraged emotional development by acknowledging feelings and naming them for the child.
The Homemaker Service is the outcome of an interagency approach to responding to an unmet need – that of responding to children’s needs earlier when they emerge. Key partners in this are Limerick CYPSC, Tusla, ABC StartRight, and Limerick Regeneration.
Ger Brophy Chairman of Limerick City CYPSC and TULSA Mid-West Manager said: “Limerick CYPSC developed the Homemaker Family Support Service in response to an identified need to provide support to families as needs are emerging. This can often help families from reaching a crisis situation, and we know that supporting families as early as possible means that outcomes are often far greater. We are delighted with the results of the Homemaker Evaluation, which shows that the model, based on a partnership approach that is tailored to the individual needs of a family, has worked so well to meet the needs of families in Limerick.”
ABC Start Right Limerick Manager Maria Dwyer said: “Part of the aim of the ABC area-based approach is to be responsive to parents’ needs at the right time, in the right way. Homemaker is part of the Community Wraparound suite of integrated supports available to families in Limerick and the service plays a fundamental role in effective, outcomes-focused prevention and early intervention work”.
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