Family recovery needs report is officially launched in County Hall
The South East Region Family Support Network (SERFSN) recently launched a report in Wexford which highlights issues facing families in the area.
The Recovery Needs of Families Report, along with a sister publication, the Family Matters Too booklet, were launched in County Hall by Minister Paul Kehoe.
Speaking at the event he acknowledged the work of the SERFSN and praised its commitment to improving the situation for families in Wexford and across the south east.
Among those in attendance were members of voluntary and community groups as well as representatives of statutory agencies.
One woman who spoke at the event, a mother whose son ended up in prison as a result of drug misuse, highlighted the trauma experienced by children who were separated from their parents and the impact that has on the family unit.
'It's important that children are not discriminated against or harmed because of having a parent in prison,' she said.
She highlighted that the booklet will help family members, especially children, who have someone close to them in prison and that it will help them formulate a family plan for when the person is released.
Breda Fell, from SERFSN, also spoke and highlighted the importance of family stability in the lives of everyone in society.
'Problem substance misuse affects the whole family and family needs must be addressed,' she said.
She emphasised that support is available to people in Wexford and said the families involved are composed of 'ordinary people dealing with extraordinary problems'.
'Getting support early can lessen the damage to families,' said Ms Fell.
She also encouraged people to avail of the 'Family Matters Too' resource which is distributed to all prisons and is available in visitor centres and prison chaplaincies.
With regard to the report Ms Fell highlighted the benefits of 'recovery-based approaches' and the key role that family has to play.
Minister Kehoe thanked Ms Fell and her colleagues in the SERFSN for their work in developing the reports and said families are among society's most important resources: 'The family unit is the bond that provides support and nurture to our children and drives parents to strive for a better life.'
'Fracturing of the family can be devastating and have such an impact on so many people,' he said.
'Both of these publications deal with instances where the security of a family can be threatened,' he added.
The Family Recovery Needs Report highlights findings that validate the work being undertaken by the SERFSN in addition to making recommendations on how services that deal with families in crisis can develop appropriate plans.
'I strongly support the interaction of our state services with this network to provide better outcomes for families in the midst of crisis,' said Minister Kehoe.
He also complimented the work of the Irish Prison Services in the area and said it 'provides a unique input into the lives of prisoners and the families they interact with on a daily basis'.
Minister Kehoe said the work of the SERFSN was enabling families to help each other and to move forward and that the two publications place a strong emphasis on the importance of communities and how families interact within that context.
Minister Kehoe said he was inspired by the people involved in compiling the two SERFSN reports and commented: 'Some of you have been on the receiving end of some of the worst things that can impact your families and it is a great testament to your strength and to the strength of the Network that you have taken these events and turned it into something extremely positive.'
The Minister had previously announced €1.7m in funding for a Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) for Wexford and at the report launch in County Hall said that fund is aimed at supporting life-long learning, strengthening communities and enabling people to become 'job ready'.
SICAP is administered nationally by Pobal and is overseen at a community level by the Local Community Development Committees.
It supports unemployed people, those with disabilities, single parent families, those on low incomes and other disadvantaged groups.