End of Year Message for St. Michael's House Children and Young Person's Services

Issued 19 December 2018

Early Services Christmas Party 2018

Dear Family Member,

 As the year comes to a close I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas.

2018 continued to pose challenges in delivering the level of service needed by children and families. This was felt in particular in clinical services e.g. Speech & Language Therapy and in much needed respite and support services.

In addition to the day to day work of delivering key assessments, therapeutic interventions and staff and family training, the following is an overview of some of the work undertaken by Children’s and Young Person’s Services & Support Services throughout 2018:


  • Changes to School Age Clinical services and the formation of five School Age Clinical teams North and South to standardise systems and approaches to clinical service delivery. More information on School Age Services here


  • Finalising a review of key-working across the service and preparation for the implementation of a pilot project in early 2019. The team, in partnership with Suzanne Guerin, UCD Centre for Disability Studies at the UCD School of Psychology, were successful in securing finance for a research assistant, under the UCD Research fellowship for 2018/19.


  • Ongoing work at Early Services level including a review of Individual Plans, an evaluation of the Early Learning group, a pilot Early Services parenting programme run by the Psychology department and the annual Early Services Summer & Christmas parties, which were a huge success. More information on Early Services here.


  • Ongoing work in developing evidence based clinical pathways e.g. Toileting & aversive feeding.


  • Hosting a National Study Day on Speech and Children with ID by the SLT department– with the 3 children’s hospitals.


  • Transition planning in preparation for progressing disability services and significant work by SMH staff across the Community Health Organisation's in anticipation of this programme change.


  • Continuing work as a Patron body in supporting the work of St. Michael’s House schools which included meetings with the Department of Education and with the Ministers for Education and Disabilities in relation to the needs of children in our service, challenges in delivering special education services, deficits in budgets for schools and school building requirements . More information on schools here.


  • Implementation of the recommendations of the 2016 respite review and re-opening of the Donabate children’s respite house.


  • Opening of a new residential service in Ballygall and securing funding for a pilot therapeutic respite model at this location.


  • Ongoing collaboration with the MHID (Mental Health in Intellectual Disability) steering group in laying the groundwork for the development of SMH CAMHS/ID (Community Mental Health Services for children with Intellectual Disability) services.


  • Submission to the HSE of a tender application for the provision of alternative respite services. Unfortunately, St. Michael’s House was not successful on this occasion.


  • Establishment of a working group under Community Support Services, with the support of the clinical team, to develop an independent living training model.


  • An evolving programme of summer supports for children during July and August run by the Link Support Services, School nursing and care staff. While, Beechlawn, our holiday house has continued to facilitate breaks for a large number of families.

In 2019, the Service Area will continue this work and will address the additional challenges envisaged as the move towards PDS (Progressing Disability Services) looks likely to begin.More information on PDS here. Please be assured that we will work tirelessly to minimise the impact of any changes envisaged.


Best wishes

Tracey McKenna

On behalf of the Children’s Directorate Management Team