Northern Ireland Launches New Family, Parenting Strategy

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Northern Ireland Health Minister Michael McGimpsey today launched a new strategy which aims to provide support to parents in their role as primary care givers.

‘Families Matter: Supporting Families in Northern Ireland’ focuses on the availability and access to appropriate information and services for both parents and relevant professionals to assist them in providing care for children and young people.

Speaking during a visit to the Dry Arch Children’s Centre in Dungiven, the Minister said: “I have been very impressed by the wide range of services provided by the Dry Arch Children’s Centre, the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff and the focus of the Centre on the needs of the whole family. I can’t think of a more appropriate setting to launch my Department’s new regional family and parenting strategy, Families Matter.”

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Commenting on the new strategy, the Minister said: “Being a parent isn’t always easy. We worry about our children’s safety. We worry about their health. We worry if they’ll settle in school and make friends. We worry if they’re developing normally. We worry if we’re doing a good enough job as parents.

“That’s why it is so important for parents to have access to information and services that can give them the knowledge, support and reassurance to carry out their parental responsibilities confidently. Families Matter aims to do just that, by ensuring that parents are supported in their roles as primary care givers, first educators and most importantly as role models for their children.”

He continued: “Services such as parenting education, anger management, managing on a budget, positive parenting, relationship support, family mediation etc should be available to support parents. This requires effective planning and working in partnership, not just between the statutory, voluntary and community organisations, but also working with parents and children to identify the services they need.

“Through the provision of the right services at the right time, I want to ensure more children have the opportunity of a safe and happy family life.”

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