Positive Outcome for Families in Limerick
Barnardos' Homemaker Family Support Service provides home based family support that helps parents in a practical way in their day to day tasks at home. The Service provided over 80 families in Limerick with support and tools to improve their family life and relationships. Barnardos undertook an evaluation to explore the impact of the service and the benefits to the families who took part.
The evaluation found that:
- Children reported feeling happier in themselves
- Children were better able to express their needs
- Parents were feeling better able to manage stressful situations in the home
- Parents reported improvement in the home environment
The programme is distinct in its delivery of one-to-one practical support for parents, underpinned by providing essential support in a real-life setting. The outcomes were recorded under the following headings:
- Living Environment
- Relationships and Attachments
- Behaviour and Social Participation
- Health- Physical and Psychological
- Learning, Education and Employment
- Identity, Self-Care and Self-Esteem
Children’s Physical and Mental Health
Children identified feeling happier, better able to express their needs and, as a result, experienced/ were experiencing less frustration. Children were also found to be adopting new strategies to manage any frustration that may arise.
Parents reported learning to support emotional development by acknowledging feelings and naming them for the child; feeling better able to manage stressful situations and keeping on top of appointments; improvements in the home environment, including diet and nutrition and hygiene and positive outcomes from signposting to a range of additional services.
Children’s Education and Active Learning
Positive results in the lives of children in the Homemaker Service included:
- Better daily routines, with children attending school regularly and on time; including one report of significantly reduced school detentions for their child.
- Achieving within their capacity; including one reporting better reports from the school principal and teacher in relation to the child.
- Improved attitudes to homework, with children interested, engaged and concentrating better; including one child reported to be more relaxed and more ambitious in the school environment.
- Increased take-up of new activities, including sports classes for kickboxing and football.
Parents reported improved educational outcomes such as receiving guidance, advice and information; attending parenting programmes; and attending English classes. A number of families also benefited from attending a child and toddler/ mother and baby programme.
Children’s Economic Security
Improvements in the home environment including support with bill paying and communicating with landlords was recorded; exceptional financial assistance for one family.
Children’s Safety from Accidental and Intentional Harm
Families who were involved with the service also made some improvements to their home environments, providing safer places for play. Indoor and outdoor improvements created secure and clean areas for their children.
Children’s Participation in Positive Networks of Family, Friends, Neighbours and the Community
Positive outcomes from children include better relationships inside and out the homes and improved social participation.
- One child recorded as demonstrating improved eye contact and engagement, hugging, laughing and smiling more.
- Another child was better able to overcome difficulties interacting with other children; and improved social participation, contributing to improved wellbeing of families accessing the service.
Parents typically set out feelings of improved confidence in managing the household and relationships inside and outside the household. This feedback was coupled with a sense of gratitude, often aimed at emphasising the one-to-one relationship with the practitioner and how this contributed to positive outcomes for parents and children.
The evaluation of the Limerick Homemaker Family Support Service found it to be an effective early intervention support service, benefitting children and families across Limerick city and surrounding areas.
The Homemaker Family Support Service was first established by Limerick Children and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC) in 2013 as part of a citywide Parenting Strategy. The service became part of a wraparound approach to children’s needs in ABC Start Right Programme Limerick, as well as evolving to a wider remit across Limerick in partnership with Tusla and Limerick Regeneration. You can read the full evaluation of the service here.