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Maternity Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 2 July 2019

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (613)

Seán Sherlock


613. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the result of a trialled baby box for new parents; and her plans to roll out the scheme nationally. [27536/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The First 5 Strategy was published in November of last year, followed in May of this year by the Implementation Plan for the first phase of implementation in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

First 5 outlines Government’s intention to pilot the development and implementation of Baby Boxes and Book Bags initiatives to support parenting with a focus on parent-baby bonding, information on baby development and early learning and promotion of baby safety.

Baby Boxes are packages of items and information to assist with the transition to parenthood including safety items, baby clothes, small toys, baby toothbrushes, and books to support early development. The intention behind Baby Boxes is to welcome a new arrival to a family, acknowledging this very significant moment for parents.

As indicated in the Implementation Plan, an oversight group will be established later this year to lead the development of the pilot and scope the project to prepare for implementation and evaluation.

While resourcing has been secured through the Dormant Accounts Fund to progress the pilot, the pilot has not yet begun so no results are yet available. As indicated in the Implementation Plan, it is intended that the pilot design will be agreed in 2020 and underway, along with the evaluation, in 2021.

The pilot will consult to determine items for inclusion in the pack. Baby Boxes offer the opportunity to communicate important child development and safety messages and is an early opportunity to link with parents in need of support services.

The results of the evaluation will inform any plans about wider roll-out.