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Children and Families

Evidence demonstrates that effective intervention in early child development can bring significant benefits throughout childhood and into adult life. Giving every child the best start in life is a key strategic priority.

A supportive home environment and strong parenting skills have been shown to have positive outcomes for health, wellbeing, educational attainment and other achievements across the lifespan.

  • Child Development Interventions Coordinator (CDIC)

    The role of the CDIC role is to build a network of providers across the statutory, voluntary and community sector to support delivery of and engagement with Evidence Based Parenting Programmes (EBPP), universal and tier 2, to engage in training and delivery of programmes within and across sectors.

    The CDIC also promotes EBPP provision across age spectrum to reduce need for engagement of families with statutory Tier 3 provisions.

  • Evidence Based Parenting Programmes

    A wealth of evidence exists on Evidence Based Parenting Programmes. The Western Trust promotes many Evidence Based Parenting Programmes.

    • Incredible Years Programmes
    • Solihull Programmes
    • Parents Plus Programmes

    This publication lists the evidence-based parenting programmes being delivered in Northern Ireland, supported by Child Development Interventions Coordinator (CDIC)

    Click here to download the Evidence Based Parenting Programmes booklet.

  • Positive Infant Mental Health Promotion

    Infant Mental Health is the recognition that a baby’s early years, the first 1001 days of a baby’s life, are deeply significant as the brain is developing every minute of every day.

    How we respond to a baby’s cues shape the pathways in the brain. Loving and responsive experiences in their life through key relationships during the first few years will affect how the brain connects and is shaped.

    Click here to view the Understanding early Trauma booklet


  • Roots of Empathy

    Roots of Empathy

    Roots of Empathy (ROE) is an evidence-based, classroom programme that raises social and emotional competence through increasing empathy and reducing levels of aggression among participating school children.

    The programme centres on a baby visiting the classroom with his/her parent throughout a school year. The class follow the baby’s milestones and development over the year during which a trained instructor coaches pupils to observe the connected relationship between the baby and their parent. The pupils learn and understand empathy from this process as they reflect on their own feelings and those of others. This ‘emotional literacy’ lays the foundations for more safe and caring classrooms as it enables pupils to become more socially and emotionally aware and therefore then more likely to challenge cruelty and injustice.

    This programme is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) as part of their commitment to give every child “the best start in life” and is co-ordinated and let by the Western Trust’s Health Improvement Equality and Involvement Department in partnership with the Education Authority.

    For the academic year 2022/2023 there will be 25 primary schools delivering the Roots of Empathy Programme across the Western Trust affording hundreds of pupils an opportunity to develop emotional literacy, empathy and to reflect and understand their own feelings and the feelings of those around them.

    Useful Links

    Roots of Empathy

    Annual Programme Evaluation Report Northern Ireland

    Contact Us

    For more information on ROE, please contact the WHSCT Key Point Person (KPP) Health Improvement Equality and Involvement Department on;


    Phone: 028 7186 5127

  • Breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding is very important to the health of both mother and baby. Mothers who breastfeed are at less risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

    Your breastmilk is the only food specifically designed for your baby. As well as having all the nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop, human milk has very special ingredients such as antibodies, hormones and stem cells to help protect your baby now and in the future.

    Benefits of breastfeeding

    Antibodies in breast milk stimulate your baby’s immune system and help protect them from infection and other illnesses including:

    • Stomach infections, vomiting and diarrhoea
    • Ear and chest infections
    • Kidney infections
    • Cow’s milk protein allergy, asthma and eczema
    • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
    • Childhood diabetes
    • Childhood obesity
    • Breast milk changes as your baby grows so they get what they need to develop.

    – Breastfeeding helps the development of your baby’s eyesight.

    – Their sucking action at your breast also helps their jaw and mouth development.

    -Children and adults breastfed as babies are less likely to have obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.

    Eating well whilst breastfeeding

    You don’t need to eat anything special while you’re breastfeeding, but it’s a good idea for you to eat a healthy diet.

    Healthy eating whilst breastfeeding is no different from at any other time of your life. To make sure you are getting a good balance of nutrients for you and your baby, click here to find out more.

    Welcome Here Scheme

    The Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme is an initiative that makes it easier for mums to recognise places where they can breastfeed their baby when they are out and about.

    For parents

    All across Northern Ireland, there are cafes, restaurants, shops and other businesses that are happy to have breastfeeding families on their premises. Many have joined the Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme.

    Find out more about the scheme and find locations near you.

    For businesses

    Breastfeeding is very important to the health of both mother and baby. Mothers who breastfeed are at less risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from infections and allergies, and are also less likely to develop childhood diabetes and obesity.

    Northern Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. Although half of all new mums start breastfeeding, many quickly stop. This is often because they feel there is a lack of support, particularly when they want to feed their baby outside the home. Breastfeeding should be part of everyday life and can be done very discreetly.

    Every business knows the value of repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendation. Breastfeeding mums who feel welcome will come back to your business and will also tell their friends. Joining the scheme gives you an opportunity to boost your business and benefit your local community at the same time.

    Click for further information on membership criteria and how to join.

    Infant Feeding

    Click here to visit the Western Trust Infant Feeding Service

    Western Trust Services

    Breastfeeding Information

    Health Visiting

    Infant Feeding

    Maternity Services

  • Daily Mile

    Daily Mile Logo

    The Western Trust in partnership with the Public Health Agency, The Education Authority and local Councils is promoting The Daily Mile™ and encouraging more schools to get involved.

    The Daily Mile is a social physical activity, with children running, jogging or wheeling– at their own pace – in the fresh air with friends. Children can occasionally walk to catch their breath, if necessary, but should aim to run, jog or wheel for the full 15 minutes. We want every child to have the opportunity to do The Daily Mile at primary school, and are now working to build The Daily Mile’s community with schools, local councils, sports bodies and other supporters in the UK and beyond.

    About The Daily Mile

    The Daily Mile advertisement supported by INEOS and ITV

    View/Download/Print the Core Principles

    To register your school and receive resources, please see contact details below.

  • Autism Social Cafes

    The Health Improvement Equality and Involvement Department have been working in partnership with organisations across the statutory, community and voluntary sector to deliver autism social cafes to support parents and carers of children of all ages who:

    • have an autism diagnosis
    • are awaiting an assessment
    • are displaying early indicators (suggesting their child may be Neurodiverse)

    The aim is to raise awareness of local support

    • bringing parents and services/organisations together under one roof
    • to learn what support can be offered to families, in an informal, friendly, none clinical environment.
  • Useful Links
  • Contact Us

    For more information, please contact the Child Development Interventions Coordinator, Health Improvement Equality and Involvement Department on;


    Phone: 028 7186 5127