Family Resource Centres in Dublin call for long-term funding for proven therapeutic services

by Alison O'Hanlon
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“We can’t rely on one-off funding to address a long-term problem.” That’s according to the Family Resource Centre National Forum who published a research report on the experiences and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children and families and the impact of ‘Recovery and Resilience’ funded therapeutic supports and services in Family Resource Centres in Dublin and across the country.

In 2023, The National ‘Recovery and Resilience Programme for Children’ grant provided one-off funding of €1,000,000 for therapeutic community supports in 83 Family Resource Centres across Ireland including Rosemount FRC, Balally FRC and Ballyboden FRC in Dublin. 

Louise Keogh (Rosemount FRC) and Kathleen McHugh, Donegal FRC. Photo Brian Farrell

The funding was used to support 4,548 children and 3,820 adults in the aftermath of Covid-19 with 71% of FRCs reporting a decrease in their waiting lists for services like play therapy, one-to-one psychotherapy, and parenting workshops. 

Fergal Landy, CEO National Forum of Family Resource Centres, said, “This report clearly shows what FRCs in Dublin and across the country have achieved with one-off funding. Imagine what could be achieved with consistent, long-term funding. We could plan for the future, invest in full-time practitioners and ensure that appropriate therapeutic supports are consistently available for families when they need it most. 

Niamh Keveney Fatima FRC and Ellen Duggan FRC National Forum vice chair. Photo Brian Farrell

“This report has shown the efficacy of therapeutic supports in dramatically reducing waiting lists. The cost-effective approach is evidence based and we strongly advocate for commitment to long-term funding so that we can provide these vital therapeutic services in FRCs in Dublin and nationwide.”

Family Resource Centre National Programme Counselling & Therapeutic Supports Conference February 29th 2024, The Morrison Hotel, Dublin. Pictured are Rosemount’s FRC Karen Carter, Ann Coleman, Louise Keogh and Ruth Sheehan Photo Brian Farrell

Overall, the research found that Covid-19 had a significant impact on both children and parents in terms of increased anxiety, mental health difficulties and social, emotional and developmental impacts. The research also showed ‘Recovery and Resilience’ funded therapies such as play therapy for children and one-to-one therapy for parents were of great benefit to children and parents in terms of outcomes.

Key findings include:

  • 97.9% of therapists identified increased social, emotional and behavioural issues affecting children attending FRC therapeutic supports and services as a result of the pandemic. 
  • 68% of therapists and practitioners surveyed identified that the main impact of Covid on children was increased anxiety. 
  • The main benefits of the therapies provided by FRCs were identified by parents as helping their children to recognise their emotions better, reduce anxiety and increase their self-esteem. 

Further information on the Family Resource Centre National Forum is available here: www.familyresource.ie.

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