Anam Cara Evening for Bereaved Parents

Anam Cara Donegal, the organisation that supports bereaved parents, will hold its next monthly Parent Evening on Thursday 8th of March from 19:30 to 21:00 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Anam Cara Donegal offers a safe and comfortable setting where you can ‘drop the mask’ and be yourself among people who understand. This event is free and open to all bereaved parents regardless of the age your child died, the circumstances of their death, or whether their death was recent or not.

The solidarity experienced by being among people who are bound together by a common feeling of appalling loss is a great help. None of us wanted to be in this group nor would wish it on others but the feeling of understanding – which doesn’t need to be verbally expressed – is a support. We all understand.”
For more information see or ring their Information Line on 085 2888 888 & NI 02895213120.
Anam Cara Parental and Sibling Bereavement Support
(View our videos with parent testimonies here)

Teenagers and mobile phones – ground rules?

When we asked parents what the main causes of stress were for them in family life many of you said “Mobile phones, social media and technology”. This is an area that we will be exploring in more depth, looking at how we can get the best out of technology without giving up our safety and privacy. In the meantime, one of the big stresses in family life is the mobile phone and the fact that our teenagers don’t seem to be able to do anything without a phone in their hand! Have you thought of agreeing a contract with your teenager for their mobile phone – how and when it is used, what the ground rules are etc. Here is a sample contract that you might find useful. Just click on the link.

Phone contract with Teenager

The other thing we need to remember is that we are role models for our children and teenagers. Maybe we need to look at our own habits with our mobile/tablet/laptop. Are we addicted to social media? Are we missing out on family time because we are on our phones? Ground rules may be as much of a challenge for us as for our teenagers!

Junk food and drink brands stop targeting our kids!

We know there is a causal link between junk food and drinks marketing to children and childhood obesity. This is deeply worrying. One in four children in Ireland is overweight or obese.

The Irish Heart Foundation needs your help to sign and share their petition so that together we can show government that we are serious when we say we want junk food and drink brands to Stop Targeting Kids

Please add your voice today. Just click the link


to sign the petition and find more information about how you can help the campaign.

Anam Cara Bereavement Support Evening in Dungloe

Bereavement Information Evening
Venue: The Waterfront Hotel, Mill Road, Dungloe, Co. Donegal
Date: Tuesday, March 6th 2018
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm

(Registration from 6:45pm)

Anam Cara, the all-Ireland organisation providing support services to bereaved parents and families, is hosting a Bereavement Information Evening in Dungloe on Tuesday 6th March. This event gives parents an opportunity to hear an experienced bereavement professional talk about the many challenges their family may face after the death of a son or daughter.
Please note this event is open to all bereaved parents, regardless of the age of their child or the circumstances of their death.
If you have attended a previous Bereavement Information Evening, we would encourage you to come again because each time you will hear something that will help you along the difficult and challenging journey of grief. There will also be time after the talk to interact with other bereaved parents.

Details for the upcoming Bereavement Talk on Tuesday 6th March:

Guest Speaker: Brid Carroll
Brid is a qualified Psychotherapist and Counselling Supervisor who has worked with a special interest in loss and
bereavement issues for over twenty years. She has extensive experience in parental bereavement through her work with the
Irish Hospice Foundation and the HSE as Bereavement Liaison Officer. Brid is at present counselling children, young people
and families dealing with loss and change through death, separation and illness. This talk will cover:
• The complex issues grieving parents must face when they have experienced the death of their child, highlighting
what is normal in this process.
• The gender differences in facing such a loss will be explored to give an understanding for both parents of their
differing worldviews.
• It will highlight the milestones on the journey through this special grief and the small supports that can make the
journey a little easier.
• Various types of loss, whether expected or sudden, will also be discussed to understand their impact on grieving
parents, their families and the deceased child’s siblings.

Anam Cara provides a range of support services for bereaved parents which include a comprehensive website with links to resources including videos and information booklets compiled by bereaved parents. See or contact us at or our information line on 085 2888 888.
Along with bereavement information evenings, Anam Cara runs monthly parent evenings which give parents an opportunity to meet with other parents in a safe and comfortable place over a cup of tea or coffee. Throughout the year Anam Cara also hosts a variety of social and remembrance helping to bring families together. Recognising that some parents may prefer not to talk openly about their loss, Anam Cara would like to reassure parents there is no pressure for them to contribute and they are welcome to listen to how other Mums and Dads have coped through the intense grief and sense of loss.
This information evening, like all Anam Cara events, is provided free of charge to parents.

Here is a short and powerful video where parents give a glimpse into the impact that the death of their child has had on their lives

Anam Cara will need to confirm numbers for this event. We would appreciate if you could RSVP to before
Monday 5th March 2018 or contact us on 01 4045378 /0879637790.

This event is funded by Tusla.

Parents Support Champions Project

The TUSLA Parenting Support Strategy, within Prevention Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) is the first national parenting support strategy for child and family services in Ireland.  The Parenting Support Champions (PSC) Project is an initiative to bring together practitioners who are already involved with parenting and family support. The project has the aim of promoting and supporting parenting and the implementation of the Parenting Support Strategy within TUSLA and partner agencies and organisations.  The Parenting Support Champions project has a current lifespan of 3 years – from 2015 to 2018. The programme of work is being funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies. Evaluation of the Programme is being carried out by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway.

Your Parenting Support Champions in Co Donegal are as follows:

  1. Nicola Harvey – Prevention Partnership and Family Support TUSLA
  2. Patricia Lee – ParentStop CLG
  3. Mary Walker Callaghan – Lifestart Services CLG
  4. Katie McShane – TirBogaineTeo
  5. Garry Glennon LYFS shared
  6. Donna Butler Strengthening Families Programme & Families Matter

All of us are partners on the Parent Hub Donegal which is a collaborative and innovative approach to supporting all things parenting.

The focus – This initiative brings together practitioners who are already involved with parenting and family support. The project has the aim of promoting and supporting parenting, raising awareness of the TUSLA key parenting messages and the implementation of the Parenting Support Strategy within TUSLA and partner agencies and organisations.

The Role – The role of the Parenting Support Champion can be explained by 1 line – Empathise, Energise and Empower; 7 words  – Promoting and sharing parenting information and supports;  and 18 pages – Parenting Support Champion Project Outline.  The role includes promotion of parenting, family well being and TUSLA’s Parenting Support Strategy, within their area – both geographic and professional.

Progress to date – In early 2016, as part of the implementation of the Parenting Support Strategy[1], volunteers were sought by TUSLA to become Parenting Support Champions in their area. Applications were submitted by Easter and in all 39 were selected for the west and 104 across Ireland. All come from a parenting and family support focus through TUSLA, HSE and partner organisations. To date there has been induction training in June/July and again training on key messages in October 2016 and a national seminar in December 2016. There has also been training in March 2017 on Attachment in the context of Empathise, Energise and Empower, and was facilitated by Dr. Una Lynch and was delivered in four regional areas. The training covered:

  • Empathy and attachment
  • Infant mental health & wellbeing
  • Parenting and attachment
  • Overcoming challenges to attachment
  • PSC empowering & energizing parents

Throughout 2017 two regional learning groups have met and a national conference has been held. This initiative was presented and well received at the TUSLA Conference “Valuing our Parenting Support” 25th May 2017 in Dublin Castle. These gatherings provide an opportunity to:-

  • Learn through peer engagement, awareness raising and networking
  • Build capacity and develop the skills of individual members and local, regional and national groups to disseminate key messages on parenting
  • Share and promote resources and information relevant to parenting
  • Facilitate meaningful engagement with parents through parental participation initiatives, including parenting learning communities.
  • Identify areas of progress and need for changes through reflective practices
  • Recognise best practice in parenting support, sharing it and modelling it with reference to existing guidance documents including:- Parent Support Strategy, Parenting 24/7, What Works in Family Support and 50 Key Messages.

This is a new and innovative project developed here in the Irish context based on the power of positive relationships and partnership working. The potential of the Parenting Support Champions project is that:

  • Parenting support services and organisation are collaborating and connecting
  • Parenting support approaches are shared at regional and national learning communities
  • Parents will be informed of key parenting messages and know how to access and share these messages easily
  • Parents are aware of parenting supports in their areas and feel empowered through participation and engagement with these services
  • Children are receiving the best possible support from those in a parenting role
  • Children have an increased sense of connection, belonging, and participation within their communities, while remaining safe and protected from harm.

If you would like to find out more about the Parent Support Champions project here is a link to the newsletter:-