Parenting Support & Parental Participation

Parenting support is both a way of working and a set of activities that provides information, advice and assistance to parents and carers about bringing up their children, so that these children will reach their full potential. Most parents will access parenting supports at some point, ranging from healthcare visits, to parent and toddler groups, to parenting programmes. We are interested in finding out if Tusla’s work in parenting support is providing the support parents need, when they need it.

We want to know if parents are engaged and participating in services, and if they feel they are benefitting from services. We also want to know how practitioners are working, and if their training is effective.

The main activities to be undertaken in relation to this work package are to: 

  • Produce and implement training materials, based on evidence of what works
  • Identify parent support champions in each of the 17 areas
  • Develop and implement parent participation toolkit
  • Develop and apply an evaluation framework for parenting support strategy linked to family wellbeing
  • Develop an Alternative Care Strategy, training and materials for children and young people in the care of the State
  • Support Home School Liaison personnel
  • Develop capacity of Irish Foster Care Association to support parents
  • Develop Toolkit and associated training on Parent Participation
  • Implement Seed Fund to support local parent participation actions

The primary intended outcomes from this component of Tusla’s work are that:

  • A strategic approach to parenting is increasingly delivering cost-effective better practice and better outcomes for parents and children, thus reducing inequalities
  • The participation of children and parents is embedded in TUSLA’s culture and operations

As outlined above, the overarching questions in this Work Package are:

Is there a strategic approach to parenting in place within Tusla? Is it resulting in cost-effective better practice?  Is participation by parents embedded in the structures and culture of Tusla?

As this Work Package is extensive and multi-stranded, a variety of methods will be used including documentary analysis (e.g. an analysis of the evidence base of Tusla-wide support for parenting programmes in 2017), interviews and surveys, and secondary analysis of Work Force Development monitoring data.  The innovative nature of some of the actions – e.g. parenting support champions or seed funds – suggest the value of case-studies geared towards generating key learning. we will talk to service providers, practitioners and parents about their experiences of parenting support and parental participation, looking at how we can continue to provide better services for parents.

The Work Package leads on Parenting Support and Participation are:

Academic Staff: Dr. Carmel Devaney, Dr Rosemary Crosse
Doctoral Scholar: Ms. Carmen Kealy 


RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS:

 

Crosse, R., Devaney, C. and Connolly, N. (2017) Parental Participation Survey Report‌. Galway: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Crosse, R. and Devaney, C. (2017) Report of the Parenting Support Champions Regional Learning Group‌. Galway: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Crosse, R. and Devaney, C. (2017) Parenting Support Champions Questionnaire Report. Galway: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Connolly, N., Devaney, C. and Crosse, R. (2017) Parenting Support and Parental Participation: Mapping Parenting Support in the Irish Context.  Galway: The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Connolly, N. and Devaney C. (2016) Working with Families: A Review of the Literature on Parental Participation. Galway: The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Journal Articles

Connolly, N. & Devaney, C. (2017) 'Parenting Support: Policy and Practice in the Irish Context', Child Care in Practice, DOI: 10.1080/13575279.2016.1264365.