June 2016 newsletter


1.Welcome to Katherine Zappone as Minister for Children
2.CDI Annual Report 2015
3.Chit Chat Roundtable Event
4.How Is Our Neighbourhood? Social Media Campaign

5.ATTI Events
ference calls for Restorative Practice to be used in all Schools
7. National Discussion Day on Juvenile Justice
8. PEIN Activities


1. Welcome to Katherine Zappone as Minister for Children

CDI is delighted that our founder and former Chair, Katherine Zappone, has been appointed as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.  

Katherine has a long established history of working to reduce poverty and educational disadvantage, and her role in developing and leading An Cosán, a community education centre in Tallaght West. It was from this work that the need for innovative and targeted responses to improve outcomes for children was identified.
In 2004, Katherine began the consultation process which led to the establishment and funding of the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) in 2007. Katherine's vision for a better place for children, her leadership in maximising buy-in and resources, and her ability to balance 'the science and the spirit' of evidence-informed interventions, has shaped not only CDI's work, but a great deal of the prevention and early intervention space. 

2. CDI Annual Report 2015

2015 was a fantastic year for CDI, with a lot of developments, strong programme delivery and the maximising of opportunities during the year.

To read CDI's 2015 Annual Report click here. Below are a few of the highlights. 

CDI coordinated seven intervention programmes in both Tallaght and Limerick. Six of the programmes were funded under the ABC programme and one through the Katherine Howard Foundation and the Community Foundation of Ireland. 

From September 2014 to August 2015 Doodle Den was delivered to 285 children through 19 groups in Tallaght, Ballyfermot, Dublin City Centre, Limerick and Carlow. An assessment of the service found an average gain of 21% in phonics, 54% in writing skills and 56% in sight vocabulary.

The Chit Chat SLT service was delivered in Tallaght West by two CDI full-time speech and language therapists. There were 121 referrals to the service, of which 72% were boys and 28% were girls. 856 therapy sessions were attended.

During 2015 there were nine Parent Carer Facilitators (PCFs) employed in nine community Early Years Services in Tallaght West. The PCFs offer a mix of formal and informal supports to parents. They also deliver a range of Parents Plus Programmes to parents, including the "Early Years Programme" and "Parenting When Separated", with 41 parents completing courses. The PCFs worked with almost 600 families in Tallaght West, with 177 parents and 245 children being referred to various agencies for support.

More information on other services provided by CDI during the year can be found here. 

3. Chit Chat Roundtable Event
CDI recently held a roundtable event for key stakeholders and policy makers to present new reports on Chit Chat.

This proved to be an excellent meeting with a lot of follow up actions to progress.

The documents which were discussed included two Chit Chat – Speech and Language Therapy Model Evaluation Reports (Hayes et al. 2012, and Hayes and Irwin, 2016).  In addition, an Implementation Guide and a Policy brief were also disseminated at the event. 

All documents are available at

4. How Is Our Neighbourhood? Social Media Campaign

As part of the How Is Our Neighbourhood? study, CDI researcher Dr. Bernadette Rock has overseen the collection of 150 surveys with local residents in Tallaght West, as well as focus groups with service providers.

The next phase of the research will involve surveys and focus groups with young people aged 15-17 who live in Tallaght West. If you know groups of young people who might like to take part please get in touch. It will be a great opportunity for this age group to share their experiences and views.

As part of the study, we’re running a social media campaign where young people can share what they like about Tallaght West and what they would like to change. They can upload images to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtags #LoveTallaght or #ChangeTallaght.

 To read more click here.

5. ATTI Events

Two ATTI (Ante-natal to Three) Learning events in April and May were well attended.

Catherine Maguire, (Senior Clinical Psychologist and Infant Mental Health Specialist) presented on Networking for Infant Mental Health in April giving insights into how effective interagency work can integrate infant mental health principles into everyday clinical practice and service in the community.

A Speed Networking event was held in May, together with a series of short presentations, giving interesting insights into new developments in Tallaght West. 

In addition, the new National Maternity Strategy was presented by Patricia Hughes, (Director of Midwifery & Nursing  at the Coombe) in late May, followed by a round table discussion. This is the first such strategy and ATTI will be closely watching for synergies with our work.

6. Conference calls for Restorative Practice to be used in all Schools

All Teachers should be trained to use Restorative Practices in the classroom and the approach should be used in all schools – a major conference heard recently.
The key organisations representing the sector called for Restorative Practices to be included in all new teacher training, in existing teachers’ continuing professional development, and integrated into behaviour management and learning approaches used in all schools.
The conference took place in Dundalk and was co-hosted by Restorative Practices Ireland and the Restorative Justice Forum Northern Ireland. Read the full news release here.

7. National Discussion Day on Juvenile Justice

CDI was delighted to recently represent Restorative Practices Ireland at a National Discussion Day on Juvenile Justice co-hosted by the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) and University College Cork (UCC). The event was part of an international project to develop an evidence informed best-practice training manual for professionals working with young people who are engaged in the criminal justice system. 
Delegates heard presentations from Professor Ursula Kilkelly (School of Law, UCC), Inspector Nuala Finn (Garda Youth Diversion Office), and Fidelma Guinan, Joanna Seery and Ciara O’Driscoill, (EPIC).
The IJJO and UCC has produced a Training Manual and associated videos which can be viewed here. The aim is now to establish a network of juvenile justice professionals to work on the development of training for professionals.

8. PEIN Activities

The Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) is a membership organisation for all those who have received funding under the Atlantic Philanthropies' child and families grant. CDI is an active member of the Network.

Over the last 12 months, PEIN has coordinated the Hands Up For Children campaign, which has successfully influenced the current Programme for Government in a number of areas.

PEIN is also represented on Tusla's commissioning working group, where it is seeking to ensure that the views, skills and needs of the Community and Voluntary sector are reflected in plans for improved ways of meeting the needs of children and families. 

A recent member's event included presentations on:

  • The Nurture programme
  • Archiving research – the Children's Research Network
  • The DCYA's Quality and Capacity Building Initiative.
In the coming months, PEIN will be establishing links with colleagues in the UK, to drive cross-jurisdictional learning and sharing opportunities.

Further Information?


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