Young Knocknaheeny Conference: Vision, Policy and practice for thriving children, strong families and vibrant neighbourhoods: Investing in children’s earliest development and earliest relationships, took place Monday 7th November in Millennium Hall, City Hall, Cork. 9am to 4pm

Over 200 delegates attended on the day and were welcomed by Lord Mayor Cork City, Cllr Des Cahill. This was followed by the opening address by Minister of State David Stanton T.D.  on behalf of Minister for Children Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D.


On the day Young Knocknaheeny wished to share how it has built from the ground up, to provide practical action that supports the State to tackle child poverty and enhance mainstream service provision so that Ireland can be, in the words of Better Outcomes Brighter Futures National Children’s Framework, “one of the best small countries in the world in which to grow up and raise a family, and where the rights of all children and young people are respected, protected and fulfilled; where their voices are heard and where they are supported to realise their maximum potential now and in the future”.

The Conference also presented an opportunity to close the gap between the science, policy and interdisciplinary practice of whole community prevention and early intervention. Together we considered the policy, change and implementation processes that support capacity building, quality improvement and service integration that ensure the best possible start for all children and families. Mainstreaming these processes across strategic domains of public policy and practice now and in the future is necessary to seriously address childhood poverty and to bring about lasting change in communities across Ireland who have such amazing potential but who are vulnerable because of multifaceted disadvantage.

On the day we heard from

  • Dr. Aisling Gillen, National Policy Development Manager Family Support & National Programme Manager for Development & Mainstreaming Programme for Prevention, Partnership & Family Support (PP&FS), TUSLA Child and Family Support Agency
  • Ms. Catherine Maguire, Senior Clinical Psychologist , Infant Mental Health Specialist, Young Knocknaheeny Area Based Childhood Programme
  • Mr. Dave Cashman, Principal, Sundays Well Boys National School
  • Ms. Ruth Doggett, Assistant Principle Officer, DCYA
  • Ms. Anne Horgan, Manager, HSE Cork North Speech and Language Department
  • Ms. Cathy O’ Sullivan, Centre of Midwifery Education, Cork University Maternity Hospital
  • Ms. Jenna Russell, Project Leader, Barnardos Brighter Futures Centre
  • Ms. Katherine Harford, Programme Manager, Young Knocknaheeny Area Based Childhood Programme
  • Professor Anthony Staines, Chair of Health Systems, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University
  • Professor Hugh Frazer, Adjunct Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University; Coordinator of the European Social Policy Network.
  • Ms. Eileen Kearney, Assistant Director of Public Health Nursing, Cork.

The sessions were chaired by:

  • Mr. Pat Corbett, Chairperson Consortium of Young Knocknaheeny
  • Ms. Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council
  • Mr. Noel Kelly, Education Welfare Manager, TUSLA Child and Family Agency
  • Mr. Francis Chance, Nurture Programme –Infant Health and Wellbeing, Katharine Howard Foundation.

To view presentations and other conference materials please click here