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Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

Sligo Family Resource Centre: Final Report Evaluator: Claire Galligan November 2007


Contents

1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8

Summary Background To The Family Support And Childcare Project Sligo Family Resource Centre The Family Support And Childcare Project Footprints Drop in Creche The Home support service Management Structure Terms Of Reference For The Final Evaluation Structure Of The Report

2 3 3 3 3 3 5 6 6

2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7

Literature Review Regulations and Guidelines Indicatiors of Quality Childcare Models/Approaches of Childcare Delivery Delivering Services to Families Models ‘akin’ to Home Support Recommendations Of The Interim Evaluation Conclusion

7 7 7 8 9 10 11 12

3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6

Summary Of Findings From The Interim Evaluation Footprints Drop In Crèche Home Support Service Key Achievements Key Challenges Impact On Families Recommendations Of The Interim Evaluation

13 13 13 14 14 14 14

4 4.1 4.2

Research Methodology For The Final Report Secondary Sources Primary Sources

16 16 16

5. 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

Footprints Drop In Creche Increase In Numbers Using Footprints Drop In Creche Increase In The Number Of Childcare Sessions At Footprints Drop In Creche Fooprints Drop In Creche Still Responding To Community Needs Parents Are Very Satisfied With Footprints Drop In Creche

17 17 17 18 18

6 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6

Home Support Service Increase In Numbers Using Home Support Increase In Contact Hours With Families Using Home Support Wide Range Of Needs Met Agencies Recognise Key Role For Project In Supporting Vulnerable Families Families are Very Happy with the Home Support Service Special Project With The HSE

19 19 19 20 21 21 22

7 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6

Staffing And Community Employment Commitment Of Wider Teams Allows Project To Function Community Employment Participants Commended For Their Contribution To The Project Training: Core To The Work Of The Project Community Employment Scheme: The Costs And Benefits Real Jobs For Community Employment Participants Division Of Work Of The Family Support And Childcare Coordinator

23 23 23 24 24 25 26

8 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5

2008 And Beyond: Summary Analysis And Recommendations Funding For Staff In 2008 And Beyond Staffing Considerations Going Forward Space Continue With Current Procedures Replication Of The Project

27 27 28 28 29 29

Appendix Findings From The Questionnaire Survey Questions Used In Final Evaluation

30 32

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

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Summary Introduction The Family Support and Childcare project has been operated by Sligo Family Resource Centre since January 2006 with the aid of funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund. The project employs one full time Family Support and Childcare coordinator and one part time Crèche Assistant. Community Employment participants also make up a core part of the project staff. The project runs two distinct projects. The first of these is Footprints drop in crèche; this provides sessional childcare for children aged 0-6 years. The second is a home support service, this provides ‘in the home’ support to families and can include housework, childcare and other support duties.

The Interim Evaluation Report In March 2006 an interim evaluation of the project was completed. This report found that the project was operating well and that numbers using the Footprints drop in crèche were steadily increasing. It also found that families were very happy with the crèche service. As the home support project was in its initial stages, little data in relation to this was included in the interim evaluation. Overall the interim evaluation found that the project had established good working procedures, provided a valuable childcare project and had the support of families and health and social services in the community.

Methodology for the Final Evaluation The final evaluation was conducted by reviewing project records and project minutes. In addition focus groups and interviews were held with the Sligo FRC Management Committee, the Project Coordinator, the Sligo FRC Coordinator, the Family Support and Childcare Advisory Group, Community Employment participants and the Community Employment Supervisor.

Findings of the Final Evaluation Footprints drop in crèche

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Parents continue to be very happy with the service offered by the drop in crèche and see it as a vital service within the community. An analysis of secondary data shows that the numbers using the crèche have increased steadily since it opened in March 2006. A survey of parents revealed that parents are very happy with the quality of care offered and commented on the great support they have received from the staff in Sligo FRC. The drop in crèche has enabled parents to access health appointments and have free time as is particularly valuable to families parenting alone and people with little familial support.

Home Support Service Since January 2007 the Home Support Service has become well established in the Sligo area. Strong ties have been forged with the public health and social work services and they are greatly involved in the identification of families for the service. Since December, fifteen families have been supported and an average of 20 contact hours per week are spent with families in their own homes. Users of the service reported that it had been a life line for them in difficult times. The advisory group, which includes members of the social work team and public health services in Sligo, also commented that the project has a very practical approach and positive impact in the lives of families who are going through difficult times. The Management Committee of Sligo FRC felt that the project is identifying those families most in need and giving them the practical on-site support that they need. Staffing of the Home Support Service was raised as an issue by various stakeholders. Although it was acknowledged that the CE participants are doing an excellent job in delivering the project at the moment, questions were raised about the amount of knowledge and experience being lost to the project as CE schemes end. In addition people raised concerns about the current climate of getting new people onto CE schemes. At the same time CE participants and management saw the benefit of the training acquired by participants through the scheme and acknowledged that it has been a pathway to employment and greater self esteem for many.

Recommendations The key recommendation of the final evaluation report is that resources are provided for the employment of three full time positions to provide consistency and allow for a build up of knowledge and experience within the Family Support and Childcare Project. The HSE is recognised as the agency with the largest vested interest and so it is recommended that these positions - the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator, Crèche Supervisor and Home Support Worker, are provided for through HSE resources.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


1 Background to the Family Support and Childcare Project The Family Support and Childcare Project has been operated by Sligo Family Resource Centre since January 2006. The project is core funded by the Dormant Accounts Fund until December 2007. An interim evaluation report, focusing on the activities of the project in its first year (December 2005 until December 2006) was completed in March 2007. This report examines the activities of the project in its final year and makes recommendations for the future. 1.2

Sligo Family Resource Centre

The Sligo Family Resource Centre was established in 1995 and is managed by a voluntary management committee. Its mission is “to serve all families without discrimination, in a warm, caring and open environment. We continually strive to identify ongoing and changing needs and to respond to them in a positive fashion. We aim to provide support, information and development courses of the highest standard to families in the sligo area”.

The aims and objectives of Sligo Family Resource Centre can be outlined as follows: Y To highlight family needs and issues as they arise, to provide an appropriate response to needs and issues, including a range of drop in services and activities where appropriate, to facilitate other local or national family support groups consistent with our objectives Y To provide immediate access to family related information in an informal, non directional and confidential environment, to provide public access to family related resource and information material in appropriate formats, and to provide this service widely in Sligo and surrounding areas Y To provide immediate support and guidance in relation to family issues, with onward referral where appro priate to statutory and voluntary agencies and to develop responses to such other family issues as may arise from time to time Y To contribute, in consultation with other groups as appropriate to the implementation of the Health Service Executive’s comprehensive child care and family support programme

1.3

The Family Support and Childcare Project

The Family Support Project is a family support service that operates two distinct programmes: 1.

Footprints drop in crèche for children aged 0-6 years, this provides childcare for up to 6 children per session, and is staffed by nine community employment scheme participants, the family support and childcare coor dinator and a crèche assistant.

2. A home support service: the home support service is for families who experience difficulties in coping with the demands of parenting and/or daily living skills and is provided in the home.

1.4

Footprints Drop In Crèche

Footprints drop in crèche was established to respond to a need in the community for short term ‘responsive’ childcare. It occupies rooms on the first floor of the Sligo Family Resource Centre building and provides an outdoor play area for children. The crèche can cater for up to six children at any one time and usually runs two childcare ‘sessions’ per day. Parents can come in and use the service; however some parents/children are referred to the service by other health professionals. The drop in crèche also has a ‘training element’, in that it is staffed by nine Community Employment Scheme Participants1. The childcare staff is managed by the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator and the Community Employment Supervisor. As part of their training the staff gain experience ‘on the job’ and get access to training opportunities to support their work. The Community Employment Supervisor and Family Support and Childcare Coordinator work closely together to manage the training and work demands of the participants.

1.5

The Home Support Service

The home support service was established because the Management Committee of Sligo FRC recognised the need of some families for ‘respite’ and ‘support’ within their own homes. Families involved to date with the project have approached the project directly or they have been referred by the public health or social work services. 1 The Community Employment Participants are part of a Community Employment Scheme operated by the Sligo Family Resource Centre. Other participants on this scheme gain training in other work in the Centre.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

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1 Background to the Family Support and Childcare Project The home support service offers ‘in the home’ assistance to families in difficult circumstances. Some of the reasons for support, listed on project documentation are: Y Feeling isolated Y Parenting alone Y Parent’s emotional health Y Parent’s physical health Y Children’s physical health Y Children’s emotional health Y Managing children’s behavior Y Difficulty with present developmental stage of children Y Stress caused by conflict in the family Y Day to day running of the house Y Managing the household budget Y Coping with chores after multiple birth Y Accessing other services Y Other Current Community Employment Scheme participants work as home support workers. Tasks listed on their job description include: Y To develop a caring relationship with the family Y To provide one-to-one support in the family’s own home, as agreed with the family, the family support and childcare coordinator and or the referral agency worker Y To promote positive parenting skills Y To be informed on the individual family’s needs as per contract 6

Y To support the family member’s personal development and self esteem Y To share and advise on home care skills Y To offer support with budgeting Y To promote health and safety in the home setting Y To promote healthy living Y To carry out work as agreed Y To raise awareness of resources available to families Y To keep a written record of work carried out, assessing progress made continuously Y To report to the family support and childcare coordinator on progress made on a regular basis Y To attend relevant meetings Y To attend weekly team meetings to review work Initially, home support workers undertake 14 hours of basic training, to be ready for the post: this training includes aspects of child development and children’s behavior; communication; confidentiality; boundaries; conflict; professional behavior; background to the project and report writing. Additional training includes information on other support agencies, child protection, special needs awareness and health and safety. The Domestic Violence Advocacy Service and the Monetary and Budgetary Service (MABS) also contribute to the training programme. The project has developed a number of documents/forms to define its work. This makes its objectives clear to users of the service. These include: referral for home support visits; working agreement/ needs assessment with parent and coordinator; report of the home support worker. The process: After a family is referred to the service, the family support and childcare coordinator will make an initial visit to the home to establish the needs of the family and agree a plan of action with the parents. Home

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


1 Background to the Family Support and Childcare Project visits are then carried out by the ‘home support worker’ who will provide practical or emotional support for an agreed period of time or until the family overcomes their present difficulties. The family support and childcare coordinator re-visits the family every four to six weeks, when a review with the family takes place. A decision is taken to increase, decrease or continue the support being offered. Ongoing phone discussions (and some meetings) also take place, as appropriate, with the referral agency to keep them informed of progress.

1.6

Management Structure

The overall direction of the Family Support and Childcare Project, like other projects in the Family Resource Centre (FRC), is guided by the Family Resource Centre Management Committee. However a number of groups feed into the running of the Family Support Project which is managed day to day by the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator, Charlotte Bussmann. In addition a crèche assistant was employed in January 2007 (paid from Sligo Family Resource Centre fundraising). The diagram below highlights the various bodies feeding into the running of the project. Board of Management, Sligo FRC Coordinator Sligo Family Resource Centre

Advisory group that meets twice annually

Family Support and Childcare Co-ordinator Cluster group, meets twice annually

Community Employment Supervisor, Sligo FRC

The Family Support and Childcare Coordinator meets with the Community Employment Supervisor and Sligo FRC Coordinator on a regular basis (monthly) to plan and monitor progress, look at the day to day operation of the project and manage staff rostering and staff training. The Management Committee of Sligo FRC are the overall directors of the project and are updated on project developments at their monthly meetings. The Advisory/Cluster Group is a group of specialist agencies that were brought together by the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator to give advice and input into the delivery of the sessional drop in service and home support service. The large advisory group meets twice annually, the smaller ‘cluster group’ is drawn from the advisory group and meets twice annually, in-between cluster group meetings. Agencies on this group include: Y Health Service Executive Y Social Work Department Y Nursing Department Y Autism Division Y Special Needs Sligo Leitrim Y Community Family Support and Preventative Services Y Sligo Springboard Company Limited Y Lifestart Sligo Y Sligo County Childcare Committee Y St. Michael’s Family Life Centre Y Northside Community Centre Community Development Project Y Sligo Social Services Y Sligo Travellers Support Group Y Globe House2 Y Domestic Violence Advocacy Service Y Sligo Rape Crisis Centre 2

Globe House is a direct provision accommodation centre for asylum seekers

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

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1 Background to the Family Support and Childcare Project 1.7

Terms of Reference for the Final Evaluation

Following the completion of the interim evaluation in March 2007, a number of recommendations were made for the final evaluation: Overall, the purpose of the evaluation is to assess if the project has been successful in meeting its objectives: 1

To provide a child drop in crèche to families referred from the Health Service Executive, other organisations or through self referral

2

To provide a programme based on the individual needs of the children present

3

To take each child’s age, stage, ability and cultural background into account

4

To provide an atmosphere conducive to supporting the child’s development in a safe and comfortable

5

To work in partnership with parents

6

To support vulnerable families in crisis in their own homes

7

To encourage and empower parents and children to avail of programmes and services aimed at addressing poverty, isolation, mental health issues, training and education

8

To evaluate the programme and disseminate lessons learned

environment

This will be examined by: Y Providing statistics relating to the number of children/families being supported Y Providing information in relation to staff numbers and turnover Y Conducting a qualitative review of the home support programme – through interviews with a sample of participants or a focus group Y Conducting a client satisfaction survey with parents using the drop in crèche service Y Conducting a focus group with Community Employment participants leaving the service this year and a review of the scheme with the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator 8

Y Conducting interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders at the end of the project, including the Advisory Group, Sligo FRC coordinator, the Community Employment Supervisor and a member of the HSE social work team.

1.8

Structure of the report

This report is structured in the following way: Chapter one:

Introduces the project and details some background information

Chapter two:

Provides a literature review to set the project in context

Chapter three:

Gives a summary of findings from the interim evaluation

Chapter four:

Outlines the methodology used for the final evaluation

Chapter five:

Analyses the primary and secondary research findings in relation to Foot prints drop in crèche.

Chapter six:

Analyses the primary and secondary research findings in relation to the home support service

Chapter seven:

Analyses the primary and secondary research findings in relation to staffing and community employment

Chapter eight:

Presents a summary analysis and recommendations for the project

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


2 Literature Review The purpose of this literature review is to highlight good practice and research undertaken in relation to sessional childcare service and home support services. In this chapter the review will be presented in two sections. Section 1 highlights indicators of quality childcare and section 2 present a literature review in relation to home support services. 2.1

Regulations and Guidelines

The law in Ireland provides for the regulation and inspection of pre-school child care services. Under the Child Care Act, 1991 each HSE area in Ireland is charged with ensuring the health, safety and welfare of pre-school children attending services in their area.  Under these regulations sessional services are allowed to offer childcare for up to 3.5 hours per session. The regulations identify the physical and staff requirements for such facilities and these regulations must be adhered to in order to operate. New childcare regulations produced in 2006 will be effective from September 20073. Critiques of the current regulations have claimed that “regulations are minimal and are mainly about the physical environment, there is very little regulation in the area of staff qualifications or childcare practice”4.

2.2

Indicators of Quality Childcare

The relationship between high quality practices in childcare services and their impact on child development is well established. In addition poor quality provision may be detrimental to children and even put them at risk. There is no single definition for all children in all services of what quality childcare is. In an Irish context, the Barnardos Supporting Quality – Guidelines For Best Practice In Childhood Services; provides us with a clear outline of indicators of a quality childcare environment: Y Clearly defined aims and objectives Y An effective management structure Y An equal opportunities policy that promotes understanding of cultural and physical diversity, and challenges stereotypes Y Close relationship between staff and parents, and the involvement of parents in the running of the service Y An atmosphere in which every child and adult feels secure, valued and confident Y A broad based, balanced and relevant curriculum, appropriate to the emotional, spiritual and physical development of children, informed by observation and assessment Y Evidence of children being actively involved in their learning, with strong emphasis on play and talk Y A system of record keeping which monitors children’s learning and is shared with parents Y Well-trained staff who can understand and respond to the needs of individual children and structure and support their learning Y Continuity of care through a key worker system American research reflects the indicators identified in an Irish context and asserts that the quality of care a young child receives can have a direct impact on his or her social, emotional, physical and intellectual development, and ultimately success in school and life5. These indicators can be identified as: Y Early relationships with care givers Y Ratio of care givers to children Y Education and training level of the care giver Y Sensitivity of the care giver Y Having good materials, activities and environmental arrangements It has been found that children who develop close relationships with their care givers have fewer problem behaviors6. According to research, this is the single most important factor in predicting children’s behavior and social skills. Linked to this are factors such as the ratio of care givers to children, the training levels of care givers and the sensitivity of the care giver. In further research, the strongest indicators for long term success tied to early child care were related to the education level of the care givers and the amount of participation in on3

A copy of the new regulations is available from: www.irlgov.ie Noreen Byrne, Director, Doras Bui, Appendix 2: The challenges of providing high quality subsidised childcare places Summary, Conclusions, and Frequently Asked Questions By Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph.D.President, High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, www.nippa.org 6 Peisner-Feinberg, E.S., Burchinal, M.R., Clifford, R.M., Culkin, M.L., Howes, C., Kagan, S.L., Yazegian, N., Byler, P., Rustici, J., & Zelazo, J. (1999). The children of the cost, quality, and outcomes study go to school: Executive summary. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center. 7 Kagan & Neuman (1996). The relationship between staff education and training and quality in child care programs. Child Care Information Exchange, January, .56-69. 4 5

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2 Literature Review going training in early childhood development. American national research underscores that quality child care is contingent upon the special training that care givers receive in early childhood development7. The physical environment in which a childcare service operates also contributes to the quality of care. Provision of a good learning environment is regulated for under the childcare act. In a booklet produced by Barnardos for parents, they identify that the premises should be Y Bright and airy, in good repair, clean and hygienic and warm and comfortable Y Furniture and equipment must be suitable and well maintained Y Work and play surfaces must be of non-toxic material and be clean at all times There should be: Y An adequate (as recommended) number of toilets and wash-hand basins Y An appropriate nappy changing area Y Safely protected electrical appliances Y Protected patio doors and low level windows Y Thermostatically controlled hot water Y Cupboard locks in place Y Fully equipped first-aid kit and medical arrangements Y Kitchen area clean with proper washing up and sterilising equipment, suitable storage and food preparation space Y Fire safety equipment in place, (fire extinguisher, fire blanket, smoke detectors) Y Regular fire drills, with all staff familiar with evacuation procedures Y A variety of toys and equipment, all in good repair All of these issues are addressed as part of the inspection of childcare services carried out by the Health Service Executive.

2.3 10

Models/Approaches of Childcare delivery

Sessional childcare services are the second most common form of childcare services availed of by parents in Ireland, after child minding. Sessional services include playgroups, crèches, Montessori groups, Naionrai, community run services and playschools. Sessional pre-school services are allowed to offer childcare up to a maximum of three and half hours. Under the current Irish regulations, any sessional service should provide 2 sq metres of space for each child using the service and provide a sleeping area for any babies using the service. There are a wide range of approaches used in the childcare sector; these include Montessori, High Scope and Steiner educational approaches. The merits of each approach will not be discussed here as this is too broad a scope for this study. In a booklet produced for parents to help them identify quality childcare, the key issues that they should look for in a quality childcare curriculum are described as follows: “A rich early year’s curriculum or programme should be centred around play as an important means of learning, and organised in response to the changing needs of children, for the different stages of development. There should be a balance between care and education. Education is about the development of a child’s potential at a particular time, and not simply a preparation for the next stage. It is more important that young children are given the space and opportunity to explore and discover things for themselves, than for adults to teach them facts and figures8” Different childcare services give different emphasis to the type of education programme employed. Some services focus primarily on the delivery of the High Scope programme or Montessori programme in their crèche. Other services choose to adopt a method that draws from a range of approaches. In a good practice guide designed for childcare workers the following elements are highlighted for inclusion in a childcare programme9: 1

Parental involvement: create an environment where parents feel respected, appreciated and valued

2

Provide messy play opportunities for children and babies - this includes play with water, paint, sand, clay etc…

8 9

Get it Right: A parents guide to choosing quality daycare, Marion Dowd, Barnardos, 2000 Sharing Good Practice: Practical Guidance for Childcare Practitioner, Barnardos

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


2 Literature Review 3

Plan programmes and involve children in planning

4

Provide opportunities for outdoor play

5

Helping children with their behavior – supporting children in learning to understand and control their feel ings

6

Story time – encouraging children to enjoy reading

7

Observation and reflection – through this one can plan activities that meet the needs of each individual child

8

Supporting children to develop social skills – through showing and doing

9

Help new children to settle in – adopt a ‘settling in’ policy to help children feel comfortable in the new set ting

10 Friendly and caring relationships between staff and children

2.4

Delivering Services to Families

A number of studies have been carried out that highlight the needs of families and how these needs can be taken into consideration in the delivery of services. A transnational project carried out from 2002 to 2006, between Ireland and other European partners investigated the views of families to inform the policies and practices to combat social exclusion in families with young children (European Programme To Combat Social Exclusion 2002-2006-transnational exchanges) The Irish study identifies the needs of families in their own words and uses this to draw up a framework for use in the implementation of family services. Some of the statements made by families that related to home help services were recorded as follows: “Every community should have a home-start: a trusting, non-judgmental friend, with a listening ear, and that can give you a hand practically as well as emotionally”; “we need more family support services for children and parents”. One woman identified how just “sitting and talking is such a great help” Learning, from the Irish research, highlighted a number of questions that should be taken into consideration when delivering services to families: Y Is the programme based on evidence concerning the extent, degree of urgency and nature of family needs? Y Is the policy or programme actually reaching the families it is intended to reach? Y Has the policy or programme clear objectives and procedures for implementation? Y Is the policy/ programme outcome based? Is account taken of the earliest indications of change among some of the most marginalised parents – that is, of movement towards social inclusion even though it is difficult to measure? Y Are there enough high calibre staff responsible for planning and delivering a policy or a programme? Are they adequately trained, specifically in dealing with socially excluded families, and supervised on an ongoing basis? Y Have they clearly understood what the policy or programme is about? Y Is a culture of learning, self evaluation and openness apparent amongst those who plan or deliver policies and programmes? Y Does it extend to genuine joint working between governmental and non-governmental bodies, between departments and agencies, and does it involve true partnership with parents? Y Are adequate resources secured so that both policies and programme are implemented and sustained as en visaged? Y Are these resources utilised in such a way that the best results are achieved with the least possible cost? Y Does the policy/ programme incorporate an evaluation procedure from its earliest stages? Does it encompass minority groups who tend not to take up services? Y Is there provision for client participation in the formulation, implementation and assessment of the policy/programme? Y Do you really listen to families including the most marginalised, hear what they say and respond to their ad vice and feedback?10 10 Learning from families in Ireland, A Practical Framework Transnational Project “ Learning from Families” - Policies and Practices to Combat Social Exclusion in Families with Young Children” (European Programme to Combat Social Exclusion 2002-2006 - Transnational Exchanges)

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2 Literature Review In a related document ‘Families Under Stress’ which records the experiences of families in Britain and Wales a number of factors are also mentioned that have relevance for this study. Here parents identified that using services, such as home help, childcare, summer schemes allowed them to “be less stressed’, ‘cope with (their) child/ children better’ and ‘gain more information and knowledge”. Expectations for their children were that they would ‘have better opportunities to play and learn’ and ‘have more opportunities to mix with other children’. (p8) Some of the good practice principles identified by this study were: Y Families come in many different shapes and sizes and should not be discriminated against on the basis of ethnic origin, religion, culture, language, disability, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic circum stances Y Differing family structures and approaches to parenting should be embraced, as long as the well-being of the children is not jeopardized Y ‘Fathering’ is significant to children. Services should support fathers’ involvement - whether they are living with their children or not - in the context of local cultures and norms Y Extended families and community networks are important. Cultural strengths and traditions should be built upon, but not exploited to the detriment of the family Y Parents/carers have needs and aspirations as individuals in their own right - the need for social contact and relaxation, the wish to further personal development, learn new skills, pursue career opportunities. Activities which respond to parents/ carers’ changing needs in changing times should be promoted Y Children have needs and rights as individuals in their own right - opportunities to play, learn and mix with other children, the right to be protected from abuse and exploitation, to realise their full potential, to be consulted about matters which affect them. Activities to meet these needs and uphold these rights should be promoted, in accordance with the UNCRC. Y Services should be geared towards the promotion of child well being and family well being, but the needs and rights of children may sometimes be in conflict with those of their parents/ carers. The welfare and safety of children must always come first Y Parents/ carers’ choice of combining work and family life or parenting children on a full time basis should be respected and services should support them in this choice 12

Y The challenges and complexities of parenting in today’s society should be acknowledged and the impor tance of good parent/ child relationships validated Y Children, parents and carers should be involved in the design, development and evaluation of services to ensure they are relevant and appropriate to their needs Y Services should be provided in a way which does not stigmatise families or communities Y Services should empower families, not disable them or maintain them in disadvantaged situations. With appropriate help and support, families usually have the skills and strengths to find solutions to their own problems Y Service providers should acknowledge that some families need support intermittently, to respond to changing needs, while others need support on a long term basis Y Family support work is demanding and those involved in this work should receive appropriate training and support to maintain the necessary competences

2.5

Models ‘akin’ to Home Support

In researching different models of home support operating in Ireland and elsewhere, no studies were found that related directly to the model being operated by the Family Support and Childcare Project, i.e. managed by a coordinator in collaboration with mainstream services and delivered by community employment scheme participants. Much of the literature related to home help, focused on the needs of older people. Currently in Ireland, the Home Help Service operated by the HSE seems to focus exclusively on the needs of older people and provides vital care for this age group. However, it is worth noting that recent studies and calls from politicians are asking for a reform of this service and an increase in wages for home help workers. Some of the issues they want addressed by government include: Y Clarification of the nature of the service provided by home helps Y Explicit and agreed criteria for assessment of need

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


2 Literature Review Y Standardized criteria for entitlement Y Contractual service agreements with the voluntary organisations Y National guidelines for level of service provision based on assessed needs Y Recognition of the home help service as a service in its own right, within the overall health services Y Recognised training for home helps and home help organisers Y Uniform rates of pay11 Despite this, some services, operating in Ireland and overseas do provide support to families within their own homes. Many of these models have a social or medical basis, for example post-natal care by public health nurses and home-visitation programs have long been advocated as a strategy for improving the health of children. Other home support programmes are more social/supportive in nature. One such model is Homestart, this organisation provide support to families by visiting families in their own homes to offer support, friendship and practical assistance. The service is run exclusively by volunteers. The reasons parents ask for Homestart are identified as: the feeling of isolation in their community and not having access to other family support, finding it hard to cope due to a child’s physical or mental illness, to help cope after the death of a loved one or needing help to cope with the needs of a multiple birth. Homestart is a UK and an international charity, operating in a wide number of countries including Ireland. Each local Homestart project is run as an independent charity and governed by a board of local trustees. These boards are similar to management committees, in that they manage the resources of the local Homestart and give the project overall direction. Trustees are given an induction programme and also take part in ongoing training. Volunteers who wish to be family visitors, must have parental experience and have to undertake a training programme delivered by Homestart. From there volunteers are matched with a family. Families can apply for the service by contacting Homestart directly or through their GP or health visitor. In the UK, 25% of families refer themselves. In research investigating ‘the outcomes and costs of Homestart support for young families under stress12‘, carried out over a period of 11 months, “four-fifths of the mothers using home-start stated that it had made a difference to the stresses they had been experiencing. The service helped to provide a sense of relief from overwhelming pressure and most mothers clearly valued the support and friendship offered by the volunteers. However, many mothers felt that the intensity of the service was insufficient to make a significant difference to the stresses they were experiencing”. Another similar family support programme run in Ireland is Lifestart. Lifestart is a home-based, educational and family support programme for parents of children aged birth to five years. The aim of the programme is to empower parents to enable their children to reach their full potential. Every month, age-appropriate, child developmental material is delivered in the home by trained family visitors to parents throughout the first five years of the child’s life. The material used is taken from the growing child and covers the physical, intellectual, emotional and social dimensions of children in this age group. The Lifestart programme differs significantly from Homestart in that it is the delivery of a curriculum to parents. 2.6 Qualities of Home Support Workers Although the research conducted for this study was not able to identify models of ‘home support’ which mirrored that being offered by Sligo Family Resource Centre a number of similar projects were identified. In research supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation entitled ‘Supporting Disabled Adults As Parents’, a number of interventions being used to support disabled parents were investigated. In the report, views about support were consistently tied to the personal qualities of the professionals who dealt with them. Therefore, one of the conclusions was the importance of training key frontline staff in disability issues, as well as in the skills necessary to communicate effectively with parents (putting parents at their ease; allaying fears of asking for support). It was felt that these personal qualities could overcome a lack of specialist training13. This sentiment is reflected in Maluccio (1979) that states the most commonly mentioned quality of workers as described by clients were empathy, genuineness, respect and competence14. In Opgenhaffen’s15 report, 1996, she points to the need for the family support workers to be an enabler and that the interaction between the worker and client should be genuine and mutually exclusive. This report also emphasises that “workers could communicate their respect for clients by spending time with them” p78. In her analysis, the family support worker helped parents in difficulty with very practical issues as identified by the 11 The Future Organisation of the Home Help Service in Ireland, 1998, council on aging and older people 12 Young families under stress: Outcomes and costs of Home-Start support by Colette McAuley, Martin Knapp, Jennifer Beecham, Nyree McCurry and Michelle Sleed, is published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation 13 TheThink parent: Supporting disabled adults as parents by Richard Olsen and Helen Tyers, published by the National Family and Parenting Institute 14 Maluccio, AN, 1979, Learning from Clients: Interpersonal Helping as viewed by clients and social workers, New York: The Free Press 15 Opgenhaffen, Ria, 1996. The family – Family Support Worker Relationship – A study of five cases on perceptions of the family, Family support worker and Social Worker, Msc Thesis, TCD

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2 Literature Review parents, this included washing, laundry, tidying, wallpapering and worked at a pace that suited the family: “Family support workers have to step back and refrain from doing the work for the parent, which would be much easier to do. Their task is to motivate and encourage the family to take control themselves and become less dependent (p84)”. She concludes that the family support worker relationship is a positive one and through the family support worker spending time with the family as equals “families gain self confidence, self esteem and they are in control”. (p87)

2.7

Conclusion

This chapter highlights a number of studies that discuss the practices of childcare services and home support services. In particular it outlines best practice in terms of delivering a child-care service and sets out indicators for delivering quality supports for families. The key findings of this literature review will be used to inform the research strategy to measure the effectiveness of the family support project.

14

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


3 Summary of Findings from the Interim Evaluation The interim evaluation of the project examined the period from December 2005 to December 2006. Overall, the interim evaluation found that the Family Support And Childcare Project has been very successful in terms of meeting targets and setting up clear procedures. In addition the users of the service were overwhelmingly happy with the service and it has a positive health and social impact on the lives on the participants. 3.1

Footprints Drop in Crèche

Parents were very pleased with the service and felt that it offers a safe, stimulating and happy environment for their children. Many of the groups interviewed alluded to the ‘atmosphere’ in the crèche which was described as ‘warm and welcoming’. We can see from the chart below that the number of visits to the drop in crèche increased steadily since it started in March 2006. There was a drop off in numbers in December. Due to Christmas week, this was only a three-week month.

rch Ma

ril Ap

y Ma

e Jun

y Jul

g Au

pt Se

t Oc

v No

c De

15

Groups cited that the drop in crèche offers a unique service in that it responds to family needs and family crisis situations and takes referrals from agencies as well as self-referrals. It was also noted that the service accommodated children of all abilities and one third of all service users were from ‘new’ Irish communities. Parents also commented on the fact that the crèche was very affordable and therefore accessible to all. The staff working in the project said that they were happy to be employed in the project and would like the opportunity to stay longer or get a ‘real’ job. The advisory group expressed concern about the turnover of staff (due to the conditions of CE) and suggested that this aspect should be monitored. At the same time the ‘training’ element of the project also provides a way to employment for members of the community and this was seen by the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator in particular, as a vital element of the project. Challenges for the crèche in the future were identified by all as the need for greater space and improved access.

3.2

Home Support Service

At the time of the interim evaluation, the home support service was in its initial stages. Despite this, the interim evaluation found that it marked a new departure in ‘family support’ in Ireland. The flexibility of the service allowed it to respond to a range of needs and the partnership between the community sector and HSE allowed for families to be referred by health professionals, however it was also hoped that families will self-refer in future. As of February 2007, there were five families availing of the home support service. In each case the home support worker visits the family one or two times a week. The reasons for availing of the service, in each case, are diverse and can be identified as follows: 1

Family with a multiple birth, respite for parent

2

To support a parent with mental health difficulties to interact and play more with children

3

To support children with homework, where english is not the first language

4

To provide parent with respite, where partner is affected by a brain injury

5

To provide respite for a single parent who has three children under the age of two and a half

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


3 Summary of Findings from the Interim Evaluation All of the stakeholders agreed that the service was excellently staffed and well managed. However some people were unsure if Community Employment participants were best suited to carrying out this role in the long term due to the short term nature of contracts. The project is meeting other challenges named by the advisory group, including close supervision and ongoing training. From a questionnaire survey that was carried out with families, they are very happy with the home support service they are receiving, and feel that it responds to their needs.

3.3

Key Achievements

This project has had many achievements given the positive feedback received from the various stakeholders. However, most notably the project has met all of its targets in terms of setting up the drop in crèche and home support service. In addition, the project has managed to run continually without interruption, despite a high staff turnover due the changeover of Community Employment schemes. In addition, the feedback from parents and other stakeholders has indicated that staff (despite turnovers) are managing to maintain the high standard offered by the service. In the view of the project evaluator, this can be attributed to the central role played by the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator in offering consistency, direction and motivation to staff in the project. Her belief and conviction in the project as a training programme and a child-centred service has lent in no small way to its success. Testament to this is the high number of CE scheme participants that have gone on to get jobs in the childcare sector. The good working relationship and partnership established between the project and the Health Service Executive can also be named as a key achievement of the project. It shows how the two sectors can work together to respond to a specific need in the community.

3.4

Key Challenges

Most notably a key challenge faced by the project has been the high staff turnover, although it has been managed well. Maintaining a high level of training for all staff has been a challenge and it is a credit to the staff the amount of training that they have undertaken, some of which is in their own personal time.

16

In the first year of the project the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator focused her energies on establishing the Footprints drop-in crèche. When this was established, she was able to focus on building up the home support service. To allow this to occur a crèche assistant was employed in December 2006 (a former CE participant) on a part time basis, to be a consistent member of staff and supervise the daily goings-on in the crèche. This position has been paid for out of the donations received by the Family Resource Centre which are very limited and can only be sustained until December 2007.

3.5

Impact on Families

The evidence collected for this report shows that this project has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on families. Children are enjoying themselves and learning in a stimulating environment and parents are gaining some free time to pursue their own needs/goals. The service is open to all families, however it is also responding to those in particular need through the referral system that is operated with the HSE. While some families use the time to get chores done or have ‘time out’, others use the time to access counseling services, access education or attend health appointments. The home support service is also very well received by families and appears to be having a positive impact; however as this part of the project is still in its infancy the full impact will be explored in the final evaluation. Parents have responded that it “...takes some of the pressure off...” And that it enables them to have time for themselves. Some of the families availing of this service are living in particularly demanding circumstances and are coping with issues such as brain injury and isolation.

3.6

Recommendations of the Interim Evaluation

A list of key recommendations from the interim evaluation can be summarised as follows: Y The Family Support And Childcare Coordinator should continue with the strong staff support/supervision element that she has implemented in the project. Any issues arising to do with staff performance should be documented by the coordinator. Y It is essential that any future funding should cover the costs of a drop in crèche assistant, preferably on a

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


3 Summary of Findings from the Interim Evaluation full time basis. As she is the only person consistently employed in the drop in crèche (between CE schemes). The presence of this person to maintain the high standard of care, maintain the ‘ethos’ in the crèche and provide ‘on the job’ training is essential. Y The final evaluation of this programme should provide for a qualitative study of the home support aspect of the project. This study should pay particular attention to the to the role of CE scheme participants within the project and investigate if any issues, positive or negative, are raised due to length of the CE scheme. Y One of the key outcomes of this project is that it provides CE participants with quality on the job experience and training, while at the same time providing childcare with a high staff-child ratio. Any expansion of the service should consider all of these aspects and the provision of the drop in crèche service should not be considered in isolation from its role as a training project. Y The project should continue to ensure that all staff access training in child education and child development and undertake the ‘home support’ training. In addition, consideration should be given to the provision of ‘anti-racism and intercultural awareness’ training for all staff. Y A parent or a parent’s representative using the family support service or drop in crèche should be invited to sit on the steering committee of the family support project.

17

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


4 Research Methodology for the Final Report To inform the final evaluation, a number of methods were employed to build an accurate ‘picture’ of the project: 4.1

Secondary Sources

A review of ‘in-house’ meeting minutes and minutes of the Advisory and Cluster groups was carried out to help build a picture of the development of the project over the past year. All project records were reviewed for the purposes of the evaluation, in particular in relation to staff and clients.

4.2

Primary Sources

All of the key stakeholders involved with the project were interviewed as part of the project evaluation. All questions relating to the focus groups and interviews are listed in the appendix. The details of this process are listed below:

Interviews and focus groups at an organizational level: Interviews were held with the Coordinator of Sligo Family Resource Centre, the Coordinator of the Family Support and Childcare Project and the Community Employment Supervisor. In addition, focus groups were held with Sligo FRC Management Committee and the Family Support Project Advisory Group. In these sessions the evaluator had a pre-determined list of questions that were posed to the group.

Interviews with families: A semi structured interview was held with three families using the family support service. Two of theses meetings were held face to face and one was a phone interview. Questionnaires: Questionnaires were distributed to families using the drop in crèche. These were distributed to parents that were picking up their children from the drop in crèche on a random day chosen by the evaluator. These were filled out confidentially and returned to the evaluator in a sealed envelope.

18

In accordance with qualitative research methods, all of the information obtained in the interviews and focus groups was coded and a number of themes were identified. The following chapters present these findings in relation to the three areas: the Footprints drop in crèche, the home support service and staffing and the Community Employment Scheme.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


5 Footprints Drop In Crèche This chapter reviews all primary and secondary findings in relation to the Footprints drop in crèche for 2007. It provides statistics in relation to how the service was used and the views of the various stakeholders involved with the service. 5.1

Increase in Numbers Using Footprints Drop In Crèche

Since January 2007 the number of children using the Footprints drop in crèche has risen steadily. On average five (4.55) new families have been joining the project each month since January. In total 105 families have been supported by the Footprints drop in crèche since it opened in March 2006. Of this group 69 are self referrals and 39 are referred by other agencies.

5.2

Increase in the Number Of Childcare Sessions at Footprints Drop In Crèche

The number of childcare sessions held each month varies, however the trend is upwards. The chart below outlines the number of session held each month since January 2007. On average, 149 childcare sessions16 are held each month at the Footprints drop in crèche. Each session lasts up to 3.5 hours. In July staff from the drop in crèche hold a summer play scheme. This meant that the drop in crèche was closed for the afternoons. People continue to use the drop in crèche for the same reasons as last year. This includes childcare while they attend appointments and training and childcare cover for unexpected events. It continues to support people who are getting medical help and supports many families who are parenting alone.

16

This means the number of sessions held with each individual child in one month

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5 Footprints Drop In Crèche 5.3

Footprints Drop In Crèche Still Responding to Community Needs

All of the stakeholders reported that they continue to be happy with the progress of the drop in crèche and that it is ‘ticking along nicely’. People still have a lot of confidence in the service and agencies report that they often refer people to the service. The Management Committee reported that they are very happy with the ‘dedicated staff’ and they see the ‘passion’ of workers for the project as the driving force. One agency reported: ‘The drop in aspect is great … it is really valuable to Globe House .. when women arrive many need ante-natal because they are about to deliver, they have no support networks’. Parents also commented on the cost of using the drop in crèche, which was described as very affordable compared to other childcare services

5.4

Parents Are Very Satisfied With Footprints Drop In Crèche

In April 2007 a parent’s satisfaction survey was completed. A questionnaire was distributed to parents who were picking up their children from the drop in crèche17. The purpose of the questionnaire was to assess how parents perceived the service and to see if their expectations were met. The questionnaire was filled out confidentially and returned to the evaluator in a sealed envelope. Thirteen questionnaires were returned. All of the respondants felt that their child/children were getting on well at the Footprints drop in crèche and that their culture and traditions were being respected. All felt that their child was benefiting from being at the crèche. Some comments made were ‘he loves interacting’; ‘she loves interacting with the other children’; because my child started crèche at the age of three months, that [made] her development faster than her age mates’; ‘he has improved in his attention and interest in things’; ‘it has been invaluable for their development’; ‘I notice my little boy has come on hugely, both socially and also in counting etc.’ . All respondants said that the service was reliable. In relation to ‘safety’, parents indicated that they were all ‘very satisfied’ that their children were safe while in crèche. Everyone who responded was also very happy with how the project was managed and several of the respondants commented that the service was ‘very professional’ and ‘very well run’. One person said ‘well done with the unique service’ and another said ‘it is a wonderful service, friendly and supportive .. I hope it is available for many many years’. 20

One woman commented: “I have been through a break up with my boyfriend and have recently gotton out of hospital. The staff at Footprints have been amazing. They have done so much for me to get back on track. I would be lost without them”. Three people suggested that the service would benefit from more space. The feedback from the questionnaire leaves us in no doubt that parents are very happy with the service being offered by the Footprints drop in crèche and in particular the contribution that is made by staff. Many commented that it has benefited themselves and their children in a number of ways. While a couple of people felt that the service would benefit from greater space this has not detracted from their overall feeling of satisfaction with the crèche.

Staff member: A day in the crèche The first in checks over everything and gets out the files and puts names on the baskets for lunches. You check the temperature in the fridge. Then normally, if they are all in we take them outside as much as possible and they have lunch as well. We have an activity rota and we do exercise. They have the slides and the obstacle thing and all that, and they have hula hoops and football, sand and water play. Then they have free play for fifteen minutes. In the afternoon if the weather is the same we stay outside but if it is raining we do activities inside. They do jigsaws, books, art work and playdough. The room is very small but it is manageable, but if we have the babies at the bottom and toddlers at the top we have to be aware they could trip, but there is always at least two staff present. (Crèche Worker, June 2007)

17

Detailed results of the questionnaire are available in the appendix

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


6 Home Support Service This chapter reviews all of the primary and secondary research findings in relation to the home support service for the period December 2006 until October 2007. Statistics in relation to the service are presented as well as the views of the various stakeholders. 6.1

Increase in Numbers Using Home Support

Since December 2006, 15 families have been supported through the home support project. The number of families ‘on the books’ each month varies, however the number has been increasing steadily since the start of the project. The chart below identifies when new families have come on board over 2007:

Of this group of fifteen, over the course of 2007 seven families have completed using the service. On average, each of these families used the service for three months (3.14). Eight families are still engaged with the project, their interaction with the project can be summarised as follows: 21

Number of families Duration with the project to date Number of families Duration with the project to date 1family 9 months 1 family 9 months 2 families 3 months 2 families 3 months 3 families 1 month 3 families

6.2

1 month

Increase in Contact Hours with Families Using Home Support

Since December 2006 an average of 20 contact hours per week have been dedicated to the home support service. This does not include the time spent by workers traveling to and from the families’ homes, this averages at a fifteen minute journey each way. However, two families live more than 45 minutes away. This also does not include staff meetings, support and supervision meetings and the time the Coordinator dedicates to the project.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


6 Home Support Service As new families come on board and other families leave the number of contact hours each month varies. This has ranged from 9 hours per week in December 2006 to 31 hours per week in July 2007. In 2007 the lowest number of contact hours in any one month was March with 14.5 hours per week.

Home Support Worker, a typical day I go on morning and afternoon visits, in the morning I help parents get the children up and dressed and out to school and then in the afternoon I help with housework. In the afternoon I help in the house with the kids and stay with the little ones while the parent collects the children from school … Sometimes its hard. [One parent]I go to has [a few] children and she finds it hard to cope and she gets stressed out and loses the head with the kids. One morning I had to tell her to calm down, I think we’re allowed to do that but you can’t interfere … There are certain boundaries and you don’t want to be treading on the parent’s toes. I have to tell them to calm down and relax, if I don’t six more will get stressed. Most are thankful for the help … first they have to get to know you and then they open up and they are more comfortable. They do ask your advice and talk to you. In a way you become very friendly with them, but you wouldn’t discuss your own stuff .. Just be there for them. 6.3

Wide Range of Needs Met

A wide range of needs are met by the home support service. It supports families in all income ranges and families are supported according to need. 60% of families have been referred through the health and social service agencies (mostly social work service) and 40% are self referrals. All but one of the ‘self-referrals’ have come in contact with the service through using the Footprints drop in crèche. 22

Workers have reported that many of the families that avail of the service have limited or no wider familial support or are parenting alone. Many people avail of the services to attend vital appointments or attend to routine jobs that are not possible to attend to due to having a large family or very young children or babies. The project has supported a number of families where there are triplets or twins.

The range of work to support families includes: Y Involve mother and children through play Y Mind young children at school collection, help with homework, non english speaking Y Respite for mum, expecting 2nd baby soon Y Respite for mum,3 children under 3yrs Y Getting children to school, setting routines Y Minding baby while older brother is left to playschool Y Support mother with English and provide social contact for 10 year old and 3 month old Y Supporting mother with toddler twins, go to the pool Y Support mother after new baby is born, bring home shopping to save taxi fare Y Minding children when mother goes shopping Y Support mother with mental health problems and a number of children Y Childcare support for mother with twins Y House work and homework support Y Support mother to get children ready for school

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


6 Home Support Service People who look for help, need it now A woman rang from hospital to say that she needed help. (It was only later on that social work went in). She rang on Thursday from hospital and I went and met her on Friday and then I went to see the family an hour later and the worker started on Monday. The people who look for help need it now, they don’ t need it in a months time. 6.4

Agencies Recognise Key Role For Project in Supporting Vulnerable Families

The feedback from agencies about the project has been very positive. While they admitted that at the outset they felt the impact of the project was “hard to predict”, they have seen it to be “a novel and practical approach [that] does appear to work. They are delivering a service that social work could never do, it is practical and flexible.. and needs centred”. Agencies attribute the success of the project to the training of workers and the flexibility that a community project can offer. In addition, they see the value of peer support for families as compared to ‘professional’ support and noted that families may feel less ‘pressure’ in availing of this type of support. This sentiment was also reflected by the management committee.

“Listening to the needs of families it is hard to see how families can get that support anywhere else, you could offer them a bit here and a bit there and hope it matched up. With this [project], a family is taken on and they plan the whole thing. For families with a high level of need, that is what they need. My feeling is that, it’s these families with complex needs that cause the most worry and if the family unit collapses, you are backtracking for a long time … what families need is practical on-site help” (HSE Representative) The Management Committee and staff have also seen the value of the links with agencies. They feel that it has enabled them to identify families that are most in need and the links with statutory agencies has benefited the project in terms of the expertise and the knowledge that has been shared. However, both the Management Committee and agencies noted that the project needs to continually monitor to ensure that ‘a dependency’ between the client and the home support work is not established and that this relationship needs to be handled carefully.

“Being a professional is different to somebody who goes in and sits down and has time. You need workers that fulfill that role. A social worker can do it .. But a social worker can’t stay for two or three hours. It is the best of both worlds. It is like what used to be there: informal help from friends and neighbours etc. The first source is never to go to social services but the first call is friends, if they are not there options get lessened. These workers bring informality, a friend, trusting. They are as reliable as professional people but don’t carry the HSE sticker. It is a softer, no leverage agenda. How people see things is very important” (HSE Representative)

6.5

Families Are Very Happy with the Home Support Service

Three parents (users of the home support service) took part in interviews with the researcher about the home support service. The feedback from these parents was overwhelmingly positive. All of the parents consulted had different situations to contend with: one mother was a lone parent of twin babies, one mother had four children under seven and had recently split up with her partner and the third mother was a lone parent of a new born baby and a toddler. Two families had been referred to the service by the Public Health Nurse and the other had gained knowledge of the service through her children’s participation in the Footprints drop in crèche. All of the three mothers were trying to cope with the demands of keeping a house and rearing the children, and they all reported that they felt isolated. All reported that they found it difficult to do the simple things in life that people take for granted like going to the shops or making appointments. One mother was recovering from

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6 Home Support Service a cesarean section while trying to take care of her baby and toddler on her own. One mother reported that it is the ‘constant’ nature of the childrearing that is hard – never getting a break from it and not having anyone there to share the work with. One mother reported that the PHN felt that she was very ‘stressed out’ and so referred her to the service. All mothers use the service so they can get basic jobs done. In the first case the home support worker helps a mother to take her twin baby boys to the pool once a week (this would be impossible for her to do on her own). In the second case, the home support worker minds the four children so that the mother can go out and get shopping. In the third case the home support worker comes into the woman’s house and helps with the housework and the childcare. In all of the above cases, mothers reported that they had positive relationships with the home support workers. In two cases, however, the mothers gave particular prominence to the relationship that they had developed with the home support worker.

“Yeah, they helped me through a lot, they were there for me to talk to, one day I completely broke down and they were there the whole day so I could get things sorted, they helped me through a rough time, I don’t know what I would have done without them” Both recognised the value of having somebody to talk to and see the worker as a friend. They both spoke about how it “breaks the isolation” and how they get on well with the children. One of the mothers did ask for more information about the vetting of workers. All of the mothers reported that the service had been very beneficial for themselves and for their children. In addition, the cost of private childcare for all of the families, was such that they would not have been able to afford it. One mother said “If you’re not well enough to look after your kids, who else is going to do it … there are a lot of people out there with no families around them”. She saw the home support as a “vital service” for families who are isolated and finding it hard to cope. 24

6.6

Special Project with the HSE

During the summer of 2007 a partnership project was established between the Health Service Executive and the Family Support and Childcare Project. This partnership grew directly out of the home support project and the project’s links with social work staff. In this new arrangement the HSE funded the project to employ two part time workers to provide home support to a specific family with high needs. These workers are managed and supported by the Family Support and Childcare Project. This project required a significant investment by the project staff and management. The Family Support and Childcare Coordinator has dedicated 5-6 hours per week to the establishment and smooth running of this project. Because the family has such high needs, the level of support given by the project Coordinator, has not decreased significantly since the start. In addition, the Sligo FRC Coordinator has also dedicated extra hours per week to the set up and running of this project. The impact of this project has been significant. A member of the Social Work Team said that if this project had not been in place, that it is quite likely that some of the children would have been moved into foster care. Having the home support has enabled the family to cope better with the circumstances they are in and it has allowed them to set up and implement routines for the children. Social work staff have acknowledged that this type of support is necessary, but it is not something that the social worker can offer. In this way, the project has been able to fill a gap and enable the families to stay together and function. As well as having a social and emotional benefit to each individual member of this family and the family unit, it also has a social and cost benefit for the state and the health and social work services.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


7 Staffing and Community Employment This chapter describes all of the issues that were raised in relation to staffing and community employment as a result of the primary and secondary research findings. Information in relation to staff training is also presented here. 7.1

Commitment of Wider Team Allows Project to Function The family support and childcare project

Community Employment Workers

Community Employment Supervisor

Max of 13 workers 19.5 hours per week

22 hours per week

Family Support & Childcare project Coordinator 35 hours per week

Crèche Assistant

20 hours per week

Sligo FRC Coordinator

5 hours per week

Sligo FRC Management Committee Approx. 2 hours per month

Family Support and Childcare project Advisory Group 4 meetings annually

Two part time Home Support Workers for special project with HSE (50 hrs per week)

Administrator 2 hours per week

The Community Employment Scheme participants dedicate their time in the project (19.5 hours per week) to contact ‘time’ with children in the Footprints drop in crèche and with families in the home support service. They also carry out some in-service training while ‘on the job’. (Many also do additional training outside work hours) Since January 2007 a part time crèche assistant was taken on (a former Community Employment Scheme employee) to provide consistency in the drop in crèche and allow the project Coordinator to dedicate time to developing the home support service. This has been very successful. The figures show that the home support service has been increasing its workload steadily since January 2007 and it is supporting families for an average of 20 hours each week in their homes. However, the funding for the crèche assistant will end in December 2007. 25

The Family Support and Childcare Project Coordinator dedicates 35 hours per week to the effective running of the Family Support and Childcare Project. This includes staff team meetings, staff support and supervision, training, meetings with families, meetings with agency personnel in relation to families using the home support service and dealing with general day to day running issues. In addition she has dedicated a lot of time to establishing a separate home support arrangement for a specific family through a service agreement with the Health Service Executive. The position of the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator is supported by the Coordinator in Sligo FRC, who provides support and supervision. In addition the FRC Coordinator has been involved in setting up the separate special home support project through a service agreement with the Health Service Executive. The work of the Community Employment scheme participants, Community Employment Supervisors, Crèche Assistant, Family Support and Childcare Coordinator and Sligo FRC Coordinator are all supported by the Sligo FRC Management Committee which meets monthly to direct the work of the project and review progress. In total, the number of hours dedicated to the project by the wider Sligo FRC project far exceed the 35 hours that are dedicated to the project by the Coordinator who is the only person that is directly employed through funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund for the Family Support and Childcare Project.

7.2

Community Employment Participants Commended for their Contribution to the Project

All of the stakeholders commended the work of the staff and CE participants for their contribution to the project. All noted their level of commitment and that they work well together as a team. The management committee noted: “the people we have here are brilliant, their dedication and ‘go with changes’ is amazing”. Agencies also noted the benefit that the CE scheme has brought to the project through the provision of peer support for families. They felt the secret of good home support was in a large part due to the personality’s involved and good management: “it’s the individual you are dealing with .. if their disposition is good or right and they are not patronizing or superior … it is all those subtleties”.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


7 Staffing and Community Employment

Stakeholders also noted how CE participants had risen to a challenging position:

“We are expecting people to perform to a very professional standard … as a way of getting back into employment it is demanding .. It is a tribute to people who took on to do it”. Agencies also noted that any concerns they had about confidentiality at the beginning were unfounded – this is due to the good workers, comprehensive training and good monitoring and management procedures.

7.3

Training: Core to the Work of the Project

In discussions with the CE participants, training was noted as a core part of the work. It reveals that training is not just about learning skills, but also about participants having an understanding of the work they are undertaking and the ethical considerations involved. One CE participant said

“I got a fair bit of training in the beginning and got to know the ins and outs and got told all about it. You learn about confidentiality, you can’t just go in there, even from the training you know if you want to do it or not”. As mentioned earlier, nearly all of the contact hours with families and children are delivered by Community Employment scheme participants. Each year, the majority of participants have to come off the scheme, however some people are granted a second year if there are special circumstances. Each Community Employment scheme participant undertakes a substantial amount of training while in post. In 2007 various Community Employment scheme participants have taken part in the following training: Y Family Support and Childcare project induction training Y Mental health awareness training Y Summer camp training for summer play schemes Y Child protection 26

Y Lifestyle planning Y Buntus training Y Early years care module (FETAC Level 5) Y Special needs module (FETAC Level 5) Y Occupational first aid Y Fire safety Y Manual handling Y “Working in partnership with parents” Y Basic IT training Y Training in childcare regulations Y Early childhood education (FETAC Level 5) Y Caring for children (FETAC Level 5) Y Child development (FETAC Level 5) Y Communications (FETAC Level 5) Y European Computer Driver License (ECDL) Y Art and craft for pre school Y BA in family and community studies (undertaken by Project Coordinator)

7.4

Community Employment Scheme: the Costs and Benefits

From the range of training that participants have undertaken, it is obvious that when a Community Employment scheme ends there is a significant ‘drain’ of knowledge and experience from the project. In addition, the project Coordinator spends a significant amount of time in her post, training new staff through programmes and through ‘mentoring’ them ‘on the job’. Many CE participants also move into employment during a scheme, if an opportunity for work becomes available. This means that additional time is spent (on an ongoing basis)

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


7 Staffing and Community Employment recruiting new CE participants. The impact of this process is two fold. CE participants who take part in the scheme have been very successful in getting employment elsewhere and gain a wide range of skills from being part of the scheme. The Home Support and Childcare Project sees the benefit of investing in training, however, the ongoing turnover of staff and ‘drain’ of experience and knowledge from the project, means that a significant investment has to be made on a continual basis of ensuring the quality of the service that is delivered. As new staff come on board this process has to begin again and again. Therefore it limits the actual service that can be delivered to parents and families and the experience gained in the project is lost on a continual basis. The Management Committee recognise this as a significant factor for the continuation of the project. In addition, when a new scheme started in August 2007, 13 Community Employment places were made available to the project and three new people came on board. Despite a recruitment drive, to date, all of these places have not been filled. (There are currently 9 CE places filled and five more childcare places are needed) One stakeholder commented:

“ The pool of people has become small and the rules are so tight.. there is concern that it may get more difficult to recruit suitable people … running essential services through CE schemes is getting difficult”. Many people who have gone through the interview process, and have been successful, have chosen not to get involved with the project. This inconsistency in staff numbers can affect the level of service that can be delivered and means that the project coordinator has to spend time ‘filling in’ to cover staff shortages. As the delivery of a quality and consistent service to families is the primary goal of the Management Committee, this issue has been recognised by them as a serious challenge in the delivery of a constant service. To date, the service has managed to deliver a dependable and reliable service and has overcome the challenges it has faced through the flexibility and creativity of staff. However, a strong case can be made for the need of a core staff team responsible for contact hours with families and children, where Community Employment scheme participants could have the chance to use their skills in full or part time employment in the Home Support and Childcare Project.

7.5

Real Jobs for Community Employment Participants All CE participants reported that they were very happy in their work and that they had gained a lot of skills while on the job. One woman said ..

“The ideal would be to get a wage. There are so many rules and regulations and you can only do so many years” Participants acknowledged the value of CE as it “brings [them] gradually back in to work”. They also noted that it provides great flexibility for mothers with children at home. A drawback of the CE scheme, noted by CE participants, is the lack of consistency to families when a worker has to leave. However, they felt that this has a bigger impact in the family support service than in the Footprints drop in crèche:

“One drawback is that children like consistency. But when you look at that, the children change as well. But on the home support if one of us goes, you have to train someone else and it’s awkward to get someone else in .. it depends on the work and what is involved … but home support isn’t long term either, you could be six months with a family”. This sentiment is echoed by the Sligo FRC Coordinator:

“It is a challenge that families get comfortable with a worker and then they leave .. You are trying to provide a comprehensive service to a family and then the worker [leaves].”

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

27


7 Staffing and Community Employment All comments made, reveal the issues of running the project through a Community Employment scheme. Without the scheme, many would probably never have had the opportunity to come back into the work force and gain the skills that they have. The CE supervisors noted the ‘empowering effect’ that the training has had on participants and participants all reported that the experience has raised their confidence. However, the skills that they gain are lost to the project when the scheme ends. It shows that some CE participants would like to remain on in the project and ‘get a wage’ rather than move on to other work areas. The project has also proved itself in its capacity to train people ‘on the job’ and deliver a quality service. Another challenge faced by the project is the creation of ‘a team’ when staff are leaving. The Project Coordinator commented: “Continuous training in of new staff, they are just about trained and then they go. We are trying to get new staff at the moment, it is hard to create a good sense of staff when new staff are coming on and old staff are going, that is a challenge”. The agencies involved with the project, noted the crucial nature of the training and monitoring/support element of the project for CE scheme participants. “The people who you are bringing the service to don’t make allowances that you are only a trainee, they judge you on what they see and hear and how [you] perform, especially in relation to their children, you don’t entrust that to anyone”. Essentially, under the current funding arrangement, the project could not run at all without the CE participants, as they provide nearly all of the contact hours with families and children. However, the Management Committee would like to see a situation where trained up CE participants will have the opportunity to stay with the project as paid-up staff members, this would lead to a better quality of service being delivered to families and a ‘build up’ of expertise and experience in the project.

7.6

Division of Work of the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator

The Project Coordinator was praised very highly by all of the stakeholders, including management and service users for the level of professionalism and ‘the caring nature’ that she brings to the project. She was also noted for the passion she has which drives the project and brings people together as a team, despite the challenge of a changing staff team. 28

The pie chart below outlines the approximate time spent by the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator to the various tasks of her position each week. As we can see, up to five hours each week are dedicated to supporting the home support service delivered to the ‘special project’ - this includes meetings with HSE staff, supporting the home support workers and dealing with any problems that arise. Although ten hours are dedicated to the Footprints crèche, this is only made possible because of the presence of the part-time Crèche Assistant. This person was taken on board in January 2007 to allow the Coordinator to spend more time to the development of the home support service. If this person was not in place, the Coordinator would have to spend a greater amount of time in the creche to cover staff shortages and supply on the job training and support for new CE participants. By the same token, if the drop in Crèche Assistant was a full time position, more time could be dedicated to the home support service. The funding for the Crèche Assistant has been provided for by fundraising and will run out in December 2007.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


8 2008 and Beyond: Summary Analysis and Recommendations The Family Support and Childcare Project has marked a new departure in family support services and it has been very successful. It has been able to accommodate and support families in times of crisis and support families in need. One of the novelties of the project is that it can mobilize support for people quickly, when they are most in need. The practical support offered, either through childcare or home support, has proven to help families both emotionally and physically and in some cases has allowed family units to stay together. It fills a ‘gap’ in the provision of family support that is currently offered by social work and public health services. 2005 to 2007 marked the pilot phase of the project and in this time it has proved its worth. It has been shown that a number of interlocking factors have contributed to the projects success, these have been the support of Sligo FRC Coordinator and Management Committee; working in collaboration with the Community Employment participants and Community Employment Supervisors and the support of an external interagency committee. Ongoing training for staff has also been core to the success of the project. Although the services are provided on a short term basis, families and parents in the Sligo area have come to expect the service to be there and have set up routines as a result of having the home support and drop in crèche. At the same time, to date, the project seems to have managed the potential for clients becoming dependent on the service. However the Management Committee and Advisory Group are aware of the project’s potential, if executed in the wrong way, to be used as a “prop” by people. The fact that the key stakeholders are aware of this fact is healthy and it will allow them to monitor the situation going into the future. From all of the data collected, it has set out what it wanted to do, support families in times of need. One of the key assets of the project is having a community group as the deliverer of the service. This allows for a high degree of flexibility and makes it easier to establish a relationship with clients of the service. The community group is managed and run by the same community that it is serving and this is an asset in terms of the direction the project takes (i.e. its ability to respond to needs) and the potential for clients to build their capacity through the various projects that Sligo FRC deliver. The downside is the temporary nature of the funding that Sligo FRC and the Family Support and Childcare project rely on. From an assessment of all of the findings of the interim and final evaluation, the following recommendations are being made for the future development of the project:

8.1

Funding For Staff In 2008 And Beyond

Currently, the Family Support and Childcare Service is in a vulnerable position. The Dormant Accounts Fund for the Family Support and Childcare Coordinator will end in December 2007, without which the project could not function. In addition, the funding for the Crèche Assistant who is currently being funded out of fundraising contributions, will run out in December 2007. The project is also dependent on a number of other funding sources, all of which could be subject to change – these include the FRC funding from the Department of Social Community and Family Affairs and the Community Employment Scheme provided by FAS. The planned change to the EOCP funding in favour of a childcare subvention scheme as a potential funding source, will also put the Footprints drop in crèche under additional stress in trying to meet all of the running costs and in providing an affordable service - the affordability of the service was one of the most prominent issues in the feedback from parents. Recommendations Y Core funding must be secured by the project as soon as possible. If there is a delay in funding it could mean the loss of key staff to the project and an end to the supports that are currently being delivered to families. Y To maintain the project at its current level of service delivery and give it the potential to grow, a minimum of 2 posts are needed - that is the project coordinator and creche assistant. Y Given the positive health implications of this project and how the service compliments current social work services, the HSE is the most obvious and suitable funder for this project.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

29


8 2008 and Beyond: Summary Analysis and Recommendations 8.2

Staffing Considerations Going Forward

The Family Support and Childcare Project has benefited from a lot of added value, through the provision of CE participants as childcare and home support workers and the funding of training for those workers. Over the course of the pilot phase of the project Community Employment participants have been highly praised by all of the stakeholders for their contribution, and they are very much core to the success of the project. The CE participants provide nearly all of the contact hours with children and families in the drop in crèche and home support service. However, questions have been raised about the development of the project and increasing the level of service while being dependent on CE to deliver the core elements. In addition, all of the experience, knowledge and training being gained by the CE participants is being lost to the project on an ongoing basis through the ending of schemes or participants moving on into paid employment. While this has enormous benefits for participants, is depletes the development of knowledge and experience in the team that delivers the childcare and home support service. In recent months the project has also had difficulty in employing its full compliment of CE participants. Over the past year, through CE provision, the project has been enabled to deliver an average of 20 hours home support per week and 149 childcare sessions each month. The impact of home support workers leaving their posts after a short time was mentioned in the course of the evaluation by the management, staff, CE participants and parents involved with the project. Recommendations Y The project seeks funding for a core staff of at least two additional half time posts for the home support service specifically. This will allow the project to develop, and prevent a loss of expertise and knowledge to the project. In addition, it will give a level of predictability to the project management in terms of the level of work they can take on in the future. Two half time posts are being recommended given the demands of the post and so that current workers could apply. Y Given the benefits of the project to social work and public health services, the HSE is the most suitable funder for these posts.

30

Y Given the benefits of the CE scheme to the participants and the project, the project continues to work in partnership with CE participants in the provision of childcare in the Footprints drop in crèche and they also act as a back up for the home support service if necessary (if appropriate training can be delivered). Y This situation is reviewed after a period of one year to see if the new staffing arrangements are meeting the need in the community.

8.3

Space

All of the stakeholders – parents, staff and Management Committee, commented on the very limited space available to the drop in crèche. Babies, toddlers and older children have to occupy the same small space and the limitations of space means that the drop in crèche is limited to six children per session. This issue and the (growing) limited availability of staff through CE is preventing the drop in crèche service from growing. In addition, the Management Committee mentioned that the lease of the building will end in a few years. The central location of the building is also seen as one of the best assets of the Family Resource Centre. With the support of the Dept. of Social and Family Affairs and the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme, other community projects have been successful in buying premises. This would provide stability to the project and an investment for the future. This avenue could be further investigated with support from state agencies.

8.4

Continue With Current Procedures

The Family Support and Childcare Project has been exemplary in the procedures it has set up in order to monitor progress with families and support staff. Currently pressure is being put on the project to see more families, thereby time for some procedures – i.e. visiting families every 4-6 weeks by the project coordinator may be cut back. During the evaluation, both the advisory committee and the management committee are still attentive to the fact that, the project still has the potential to create a ‘dependency’ relationship and the project is still at a very early stage. From the feedback I got from families using the home support service, it is suggested that the project continue with its current procedures until a core staff for the home support service is put in place.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


8 2008 and Beyond: Summary Analysis and Recommendations 8.5

Replication Of The Project

Over the course of the evaluation, various stakeholders mentioned that the project could be replicated in other areas. While this is a great idea, cognizance should be taken of the context in which the Family Support and Childcare Project has developed (i.e. supported by the structures of the Sligo FRC). In addition, the level of trust developed between project staff (in particular the Project Coordinator) and families has been central to the success of the project. Any replication of the project should consider all of these issues.

8.6

Accredited Training Programme For Home Support

The Family Support and Childcare Project Coordinator has said that she would like to develop an accredited training programme for home support. This is seen as a very positive move and a way of recognizing the training achievements of the workers. It would also support the replication of this project in other areas. The development of such a programme would require a specific funding investment. An initiative to develop an accredited programme would benefit from a partnership approach between the stakeholders involved in this project, i.e. community interests, health and social work services and FAS.

31

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


Appendix Findings from the Questionnaire Survey In April 2007 a parent’s satisfaction survey was completed. Listed below are the results:

1.

How long have you been using the footprints drop in crèche Service? Less than one month

2

1-4 months

4

5-8 months

3

9 months or more

4

Total

13

This indicates that respondants have had a range of experiences in using the crèche service.

2.

32

How often does your child attend the footprints drop in crèche?

This indicates that on any particular day, children with different attendance patterns are using the crèche.

3.

4.

Overall how satisfied are you with the footprints drop in crèche? Very Satisfied

13

Satisfied

0

Not Satisfied

0

On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with Staff in the footprints drop in crèche: Level of satisfaction

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Response by parent

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

11

As you can see above all but two gave the crèche a perfect ‘10’ in terms of satisfaction with staff.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


Appendix 5.

On a scale of 1-10 how satisfied are you with the facilities at the footprints drop in crèche? Level of satisfaction

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Response by parent

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

1

11

Once again facilities are ranked very highly by parents. The parent who responded ‘6’ suggested the crèche would benefit from a ‘bigger hall’.

6.

Benefit from the crèche?

All of the respondants felt that their child/children were getting on well at the footprints drop in crèche and that their culture and traditions were being respected. All felt that their child was benefiting from being at the crèche. Some comments made were...

‘he loves interacting’ ‘she loves interacting with the other children’ ‘because my child started crèche at the age of three months, that [made] her development faster than her age mates’ ‘he has improved in his attention and interest in things’; ‘it has been invaluable for their development’ ‘I notice my little boy has come on hugely, both socially and also in counting etc.’ 33

7.

Overall how the service is viewed …

Very reliable

12

Mostly reliable

1

Not very reliable

0

As can be seen, nearly all respondants said that the service was very reliable. In relation to ‘safety’, parents indicated that they were all ‘very satisfied’ that their children were safe while in crèche. Everyone who responded were also very happy with how the project was managed and several of the respondants commented that the service was ‘very professional’ and ‘very well run’. One person said ‘well done with the unique service’ and another said ‘it is a wonderful service, friendly and supportive .. I hope it is available

for many many years’. One woman commented:

“I have been through a break up with my boyfriend and have recently gotten out of hospital. The staff at footprints have been amazing. They have done so much for me to get back on track. I would be lost without them”. Three people suggested that the service would benefit from more space.

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


Appendix Questions for the Cluster Group: Phase 2 To begin names, and state your reasons for being on this group. 1

Overall, how do you feel the project has progressed over the past year?

a b c

Drop in crèche Home support service How has this group got on?

2

What do you see as the key challenges you have encountered?

3

What do you see as the key achievements?

4

What do you see as the key issues going into the future?

5

At the last evaluation, there were some issues raised in relation to CE staff – now how do you feel about CE staff delivering the project? ( and into the future?)

6

What is the story with future funding post Dec 2007?

7

How has this project contributed to the work of your organisations?

8

Any other comments

34

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


Appendix Questions for management committee Phase 2 To begin names 1

Overall, how do you feel the project has progressed over the past year?

a b c

Drop in crèche Home support service How has this group got on?

2

What do you see as the key challenges you have encountered?

3

What do you see as the key achievements?

4

What do you see as the key issues going into the future?

5

How have relationships with other organisation evolved as a result of the project? – does this have any other impacts for your organisation?

6

At the last evaluation, some issues were raised in relation to CE staff – now how do you feel about CE staff delivering the project ( and into the future?)

7

Are you happy with the contribution that staff have made to the project?

8

What is the story with future funding post Dec 2007?

9

How has this project contributed to the overall work of your Sligo FRC?

10

Any other comments

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

35


Appendix Questions for Project Co-ordinator/CE Supervisor/Project Manager a

What has happened since Jan 07 Y staff

36

Y

cluster group

Y

home support

Y

drop in crèche

Y

funding

Y

other

Y

training

b

What do you see as the key challenges you have encountered?

c

What do you see as the key achievements?

d

What do you see as the key issues going into the future?

e

How have relationships with other organisation evolved as a result of the project? – does this have any other impacts for your organisation?

f

At the last evaluation, some issues were raised in relation to CE staff – now how do you feel about CE staff delivering the project ( and into the future?)

g

Are you happy with the contribution that staff have made to the project?

h

What is the story with future funding post Dec 2007?

i

How has this project contributed to the overall work of your Sligo FRC and community development?

j

Any other comments

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


Appendix Questions for Families Explain who I am Explain purpose of research Explain what will happen in the interview – me writing.

Questions 1

How did you get involved with the home support service in the first place?

2

Why did you agree to get involved?/Why did you feel that you needed the service then?

3

What happened during the time that you were being referred to the service?

4

What happens on a usual day when you are getting home support?

5

Overall what do you think of home support?

6

Are there any ways that the service could change in your view?

7

Are you still getting home support? what do you think about that?

8

Did any problems arise and if they did how did you get over them?

9

Have you changed as a result of receiving home support?

10

Has your family changed as a result of receiving home support?

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service

37


Appendix Questions for CE participants - outgoing 1

How have things been going since we last met?

2

How does it feel to be leaving now?

3

What would you say to the new CE participants coming on?

Home visits

38

4

What happens on the home visits?

5

What do you think of the home visit service?

6

How do people respond to you?

7

What procedures are in place?

8

Have any issues come up for you while on the home visits?

9

Would you make any changes to it in the future?

10

Do you have enough training to do everything that is asked of you?

Drop in Crèche 11

How have things been going in the crèche

12

What is the normal daily routine in the crèche?

13

What would you see as the main achievements of the crèche?

14

What would you see as the main challenges facing the crèche?

15

Are there any changes that need to be made

16

Do you think it is right for this crèche and home service to be staffed by CE participants?

17

Are CE participants treated well by others?

18

Are you represented, as a group on any of the management committees?

19

Where do you hope to go from here?

Evaluation of the Family Support and Childcare Project: Footprints Drop-in Crèche and the Home Support Service


Graphic Design: Martin Corr

European Structural Funds

Dept of Social and Family Affairs

the dormant accounts fund


40 page report for Family Support and Childcare Project