Friday, 7 June 2013

Community Mothers Programme Empowerment of Parents by Parents

Brenda Molloy Director of the Community Mothers Programme talks to Aoife Lawton, HSE Librarian about the Community Mothers Programme.

AL: Brenda, how did the Community Mothers Programme start and what are its objectives?
BM:  The Community Mothers Programme (CMP) began in Dublin in the 1980's. The Programme involves trained experienced volunteer mothers from the community to visit first-time mothers of children aged birth to 12 months in their own homes. Its aim is to develop the skills of parents of young children thereby enhancing parent's confidence and self-esteem.
AL: What is the focus of the Programme?

BM: The Community Mothers, as they are known, focus on healthcare, nutrition and overall child development. The objective is the development of the child both physically and mentally through the empowerment of the mother. Community Mothers are trained and supported by specially trained Public Health Nurses known as Family Development Nurses.
Photo of parent and child from the Programme
Photo of Parent and Child from the programme

AL: How many people are involved?

In 2012 the home- visiting Programme was delivered by 127 Community Mothers to1136 families.

AL: How is the programme evaluated?
BM: The Programme has been rigorously evaluated using a randomised controlled approach and there is sound evidence that it has a beneficial effect on parenting skills and maternal self-esteem that is sustained over time and which is carried through to subsequent children.
The Programme is an integral part of the Health Service Executive and is a popular form of what could be called civic action.
In recent months the published evaluation of the Community Mothers Programme was reviewed according to carefully devised evidence criteria by Rand Europe, an independent, not-for-profit research organisation. As a result of this review the Programme was included in the evidence-based Family Practices section of the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) website. EPIC is managed by the European Commission and aims to provide information about policies, practices and programmes that can help families and their children with the challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe. 

AL: Thank-you Brenda, for your insight.  The recent review is a big achievement, we will be watching this space for future developments.

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