Learn more about the mission and impact of the Parents Plus Programmes in community, education and health settings, from our introductory video. We have also developed a further two programmes since this video was produced – the Special Needs Programme and the Healthy Families Programme.

Parents Plus is an Irish charity that develops evidence-based, practical, parenting and mental health programmes. Our mission is to improve the well-being of children and families by empowering professionals to deliver our evidence-based programmes in their services.

We have developed seven flagship programmes, in partnership with parents and children living in Ireland. We are committed to researching outcomes and developing effective programmes focused on empowering children and parents to achieve their potential. Furthermore, our trainings are focused on encouraging those working with families, to achieve the highest standards of excellence. You can read more about our evidence-based programmes here.

Parents Plus actively responds to the needs of families in our communities. In 2020 we launch our Special Needs Programme, for parents of adolescents with a learning disability. This programme is the first of its kind internationally and was developed as a response to the significant challenges that parents of adolescents with an intellectual disability can face.

Parents Plus mission is to improve the well-being of children and families by empowering professionals to deliver evidence-based mental health and parenting programmes in their services.

Parents Plus provides an evidence-based service. We are committed to researching outcomes and developing effective programmes as well as encouraging facilitators to continually evaluate their practice to ensure their groups meet their families’ needs.

Parents Plus encourages collaborative practice. We working closely with families to ensure the programmes meet their goals and to ensure their experience and knowledge is central to the content of the materials.

Parents Plus believes in empowering the professionals and families we work with. Our programmes are focused on encouraging children and parents to achieve their potential and our professional training is focused on encouraging professionals to achieve the highest standards of excellence.

Annual Report 2020
The Parents Plus Annual Report for 2020 is available to read or download here.

Previous Annual Reports

Read our Annual Report 2019

Read our Annual Report 2018

Read our Annual Report 2017

Read our Annual Report 2016

Read our Annual Report 2015

Read our Annual Report 2014

JohnDr John Sharry is co-founder and CEO of the Parents Plus charity and co-developer of the seven Parents Plus and Working Things Out programmes.  He has 30 years experience as a mental health professional and was formerly Principal Social Worker at the Mater CAMHS.  He is an adjunct professor at the school of psychology in University College Dublin and has written 14 books, 10 intervention programmes and over 70 research papers and chapter.  He has a special interest in solution-focused and strengths-based practice and has written several books in this area.  For more details see www.solutiontalk.ie.

Eileen Brosnan photoDr Eileen Brosnan is a Social Worker with extensive experience in CAMHS and was lead developer of the Working Things Out Programme.  She is a senior Parents Plus Trainer and Project leader.  Previously, she worked for several years as a Researcher and Project Leader (School of Medicine, UCD) and on various projects developing technology and multimedia programmes to enhance engagement in psychotherapy for children and adolescents.

Grainne Hampson PhotoGrainne Hampson is a Senior Speech and Language Therapist, co-developer of both the Parents Plus Early Years and Special Needs Programmes, as well as author of the book ‘Parenting Preschoolers and Young Children.’  She also has a key role in the development of the manuals and parent books for all the Parents Plus programmes.

BredaBreda Flood is company secretary of Parents Plus and has been instrumental in the development of the charity since its inception in 2001.  Breda has extensive experience in accountancy and administration and advises the Parents Plus Board.

Claire Raftery is our Programmes Manager.  She has 15 years’ financial and relationship management experience in Business Banking and she is responsible for the co-ordination and management of all of our training programmes.  She also looks after our large customers to ensure the operational side of the delivery of our training programmes is managed in a professional and efficient manner.

Cherie Tyner is Development and Communications Manager for Parents Plus.  She has over 10 years managerial experience in the private healthcare sector, managing evidence-based service delivery across teams to improve quality of life for individuals with cognitive impairments, as well as consulting to healthcare companies across Ireland in the areas of service development, expansion and communications.  Cherie’s work in the charitable sector includes lobbying, awareness campaigns and securing investment to widen impact and improve outcomes for vulnerable groups.  Cherie is a qualified social worker, holds Postgraduate Diplomas in Communications, Public Relations and Marketing Management, and is committed to scaling the impact of Parents Plus programmes to equip services with the proven tools to strengthen families, and deliver sustainable change across communities both in Ireland and internationally.


Dr Adele Keating is a Senior Clinical Psychologist working in Our Lady’s Children Hospital Crumlin in Dublin.  Adele is co-developer of the Parents Plus Parenting When Separated programme.  She works with Parents Plus providing training and supervision to professionals.

Fiona Hughes photoFiona Hughes is a Social Worker with extensive experience in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and the Irish Child Protection Services.  She is a Parents Plus Programme Trainer and helps to co-ordinate our Accreditation process.

Fred picFred Ehresmann has worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Children and Young People’s Mental Health since 1993.  He currently lectures at the University of the West of England and is a Parents Plus Senior Trainer responsible for Parents Plus facilitator training, supervision and accreditation in the UK.

Ger photo black & white (Small)Geraldine Buckley is a Senior Speech and Language Therapist currently working in the area of child and adolescent mental health. Geraldine has also worked extensively in education and many local/community settings.  She works with Parents Plus providing training and supervision to professionals in the Early Years Programme.

mattBiophoto black & white (Small)Matt McDermott is a Parents Plus trainer and an accredited child psychotherapist.  He has been working for over 15 years as a Senior Social Worker on a multi-disciplinary team in a child and adolescent mental health service, where he works therapeutically with young people and their parents around a broad range of issues affecting them.

Michelle Murphy (Small)Michelle Choudhry is a Senior Social Worker with extensive experience working in the area of child and adolescent mental health.  Michelle is co-developer of the Parents Plus Parenting When Separated programme.  She works with Parents Plus providing training and supervision to professionals.

Sinead Crowley - CopySinéad Crowley is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Play Therapist and Marte Meo therapist.  Sinéad has over 15 years experience as a Senior Mental Health Social Worker working with children, adolescents and their parents in the area of mental health. Sinéad is particularly interested in working with parents because of the importance of the parent child relationship.  Sinéad works with Parents Plus providing training and supervision to professionals in the Early Years Programme.


Michael Drumm (Small)Dr Michael Drumm is Director on the Board of the Parents Plus charity and acts currently as chairperson.  He is Principal Clinical Psychologist and Head of Psychology at the HSE Dublin North City and County Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).  He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street and a member of the Board of Management of St. Brigid’s Day Nursery, Mountjoy Square.  As well as the above roles, he was Chairperson of the Heads of Psychology Services Ireland (HPSI) from 2010 to 2012 and President of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) from November 2011 to November 2012.  He remains actively involved in research and continues to provide clinical and research supervision to post graduate students.  He has a particular interest in early intervention, as well as promoting mental health and resilience in young people and the use of therapeutic technologies.

Charlotte Wilson (Small)Charlotte Wilson is a clinical psychologist and lecturer in clinical psychology, based in the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin.  She has a long standing interest in parenting and evidence-based parenting interventions.  She completed her PhD in mothers’ understanding and explanations for their children’s difficult behaviour, before completing her clinical psychology training in Manchester. During her training she trained in the Incredible Years programme and in Triple P.  Following this she has run a number of parenting programmes in the UK and in Ireland. She is interested in the dissemination of evidence based parenting programmes and discovering for whom they work best.

Jane Morgan (Small)Jane Morgan has 20 years high-tech marketing and product development from Boston to Billund, Berlin to Bangalore.  Jane has managed teams around the globe, and tech products used by millions.  She has researched and developed marketing strategy for global markets.  A freak in the high tech business: Jane studied marketing (she also holds qualifications in German, sociology and environment systems thinking).  At JEM 9 marketing consultancy, Jane works with CEOs, business and marketing leaders to assist them understand and reach customers.  Passionate about solving real customer problems, technology, psychology & women in business, she can be found wandering around Stradbally the first weekend in September and online at JEM9.com.

Andrew Bourke is a global business and commercialisation expert with over 16 years experience in the healthcare space.  Acquiring his MBA from UCD Smurfit Business School in 2014 and his Masters in BioInnovation from National University of Galway in 2016, Andrew has helped to generate a number of innovative medical device solutions which aim to positively impact millions of patients’ lives globally.  Andrew has been co-founder and director of three successful companies to date and resides on a number of advisory boards across the areas of MedTech and philanthropy.

Reynagh O’ Brien has 20+ years experience working in the multinational sector, delivering global projects and leading global cross functional teams.  She has a background in accounting (FCCA), with a focus on process improvement, process transformation and system implementations.  Experienced in organisation design and development, integrating mergers and acquisitions and development of shared services centres delivering global business services, with a focus on change management.

Andrew Balfe is Vice President of Dell Technologies Infrastructure Solutions Group, leading the EMEA Server business.  Andrew has over 25 years experience in the IT industry, and worked in a number of functions including IT Operations, Consulting and Professional Services, Sales, and most recently led a Global Product Marketing team.  Andrew’s extensive international experience of product and sales management, as well as marketing, ensures his team’s successful support for sales , partners and customers, and delivering a world class customer experience.


Parents Plus is primarily funded through the sale of programme training and materials and an SSNO grant for national organisations.  The SSNO grant is the Scheme to Support National Organisations and is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development.  The SSNO grant is administered by  An Pobal

Parents Plus is also funded by occasional project funding from non-profit and grant making organisations.  Most recently Parents Plus received funding, as part of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs QCBI Scheme, to develop the Healthy Families Programme.

Announcing new charity partnerships – We’re honoured to be chosen by Rethink Ireland for the 2021 Social Enterprise Development Fund and Business Accelerator Programme to help bring our first in the world, evidence-based Parents Plus Special Needs Programme to disability services across Ireland, to strengthen families and improve outcomes for families rearing an adolescent or young adult with an intellectual disability.  We are extremely grateful for this incredible opportunity to be afforded world class expertise, and to partner with Rethink Ireland to scale our impact, and make a lasting difference to marginalised families and the services who are set up to support them.  Thank you to everyone in Rethink Ireland!!! #TheFutureIsSocial

Parents Plus was recently selected by Ecclesiastical for their Movement for Good partnership, from over 1,000 applications from the UK and Ireland.  The partnership will see Ecclesiastical fund the training of fifty professionals working in disability settings in our new Special Needs programme.  The fund will reach 1,500 vulnerable families in the U.K. and Ireland and equip parents to manage the significant challenges faced by adolescents and young adults with an Intellectual Disability.

Ecclesiastical are a specialist insurance and financial services company with over 130 years of experience offering advice, expertise and caring protection.  Charitably owned, they exist to contribute to the greater good of society and do this by managing a successful, ethically-run portfolio of businesses.  Through their Movement for Good £50,000 grants they actively champion innovation, giving charities the backing they need to propel their plans forward and helping to turn creative ideas into practical solutions that benefit society.  We look forward to working with Ecclesiastical over the next three years.

Parents Plus have also been successful in securing a partnership with Sunbeam Trust, who are dedicated to supporting developments that enable people with disabilities to maintain full and meaningful lives in their communities.  Sunbeam Trust will fund the roll out the new Parents Plus Special Needs Programme to professionals working in disability and education services, and to parent led support groups, across County Wicklow.   We look forward to working together to make a difference to the lives of children and adolescent with special needs and their families in Wicklow.

Thank you to the Mater Hospital for their continued support of Parents Plus through the provision of accommodation, services for training and support of the Parents Plus programmes in general.

All profits from sales of Parents Plus programmes and training are re-invested in developing new materials and sponsoring facilitator training.

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Parents Plus CLG is an Irish registered charity and complies with the Charity Act 2009.  Parents Plus is constituted as a company limited by guarantee not having a share capital, registered with the company number 530105.  Parents Plus CLG is registered with the Charities Regulatory Authority with registered charity number 20043124 and has been granted charitable tax exemption by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners with the CHY reference number 13664.

Governance Code and Compliance

Parents Plus complies with all of the core standards outlined in the Charities Governance Code.  In compliance with the Charity Act 2015, Parents Plus will be reporting annually on their compliance starting in 2020.  In addition the charity has and continues to submit an annual report to the Charities Regulator.
In 2018 and 2019, Parents Plus completed a review of our constitution which was formally adopted by the board in June 2019.

Financial Reporting

Parents Plus follows strict financial procedures and complies fully with all reporting requirements as detailed by the Charities Regulatory Authority.  Parents Plus salaries are benchmarked with equivalent grades in the HSE and TUSLA.  Our finances are carefully managed by our Finance Manager and reviewed at each board meeting.  Our accounts are independently audited and our current auditors are Robert J Kidney and Co.

Our work is guided by our Strategic Plan 2019-2023.

Parents Plus was founded by Professor Carol Fitzpatrick and Dr John Sharry and the first programmes began running in 1995.


  • Squashy Couch, Adolescent Health & Information Project

    “Our parents welcome the strengths-based, positive and practical approach of the Adolescents Programme. They report increased communication and positive relationships within their families. The adolescents who do the Working Things Our programme notice improvements in relationships with parents and some report, reduced need for outside supports after attendance”

  • Family Support and Community Outreach Worker

    “I run Parents Plus programmes all of the time in my work. The lasting message that parents take away is to ‘Press the Pause Button’. In our lives, we all need to press that button now and again. It’s ok to get frustrated. It’s how we deal with that frustration; whether as parents with their children, or humans with other humans”.

  • Family Worker

    “Working with the parents is the cornerstone of working with the children in our service”“Parents Plus programmes are very informative, whatever capacity in which you work with parents. The content of the programme materials are excellent”

  • Community Facilitator, South Gloucestershire

    “I really liked the solution oriented way of enabling parents to talk to each other…they said things to each other that I’d never have gotten away with, and really listened and took it on board.”

  • Parenting Consultant, South Gloucestershire

    “An incredibly valuable tool in the toolbox for enabling groups of parents to work collaboratively towards solutions that work for them in their real world situations.”

  • Co-ordinator Special Needs Services

    “Gave me lots of ideas on how to work effectively with parents. I liked the emphasis on strengths based approach. Parents Plus is a very valuable and practical tool for work with parents”

  • Grainne Smith, Quality Specialist CDI, Tallaght

    The materials used in the delivery of the Parents Plus course are very user friendly and relevant. Parents I have worked with have found the DVD, which has real parents and children, as relevant to their own situation.”

  • Rhonda Murphy, Service Manager Chance for Change, Derry

    “We have observed first hand the success of the programme for parents and how much they have enjoyed and benefitted from the experience. Many of the parents have attended many parenting programmes!…and all of them felt Parents Plus was different and they have learnt so much more. A lot of our parents are keen to attend due to other parents telling them of how it changed their lives.”

  • National Parenting Academy UK

    “The Parents Plus programme manuals are well detailed and include excellent DVD clips which support the programme materials.”

  • Child Care Manager

    “Excellent,very interesting,very relaxed,very informative, really beneficial, will be extremely useful to me in my role, very knowledgeable, has given me a lot to be a more positive manager, gave me a new perspective on how to handle staff issues. knowledgeable and professional, fun, excellent presentations, sense of humour.”

  • Focus Ireland training

    “Superb, Trainer is an excellent lecturer and kept me interested throughout. Highly recommend for all (my) staff.Delivered with great clarity and enthusiasm Excellent delivery, extremely interesting, definitely beneficial to my work practice. My expectations were more than met.Energy and knowledge has consistent high standard throughout the day”

  • Wakefield UK Training, Decemeber 2007

    “Delivery Fantastic, Trainer clearly experienced in and passionate about working with Parents, making his teaching clear, inspiring and motivating…Style and balance brilliant Style was relaxed with good injection of humour which helped group work well. Shifting ideas from problem focus to solution focus will be invaluable to me in my work Feel enthused about work again”

  • Le Cheile Mentoring Project, April 2009

    “Trainer was extremely knowledge and gave plenty of opportunity for questions and discussions…Added humour to the course, personal experiences…Used a lot of personal experience which made it more relevant. Also with relaxed atmosphere, which made it easier to learn, very knowledgeable”

  • (Barnardos training, Summer 2009)

    “Parents Plus trainer was very effective, humourous, knowledgeable and very good at involving everyone in the group…Questions were answered with full information and context…Made to feel relaxed and encouraged to participate, give views..Excellent Delivery”

  • Clinical Psychologist 2010

    “Use of humour, real world examples, depth of experience were excellent Trainer was very practical. Relevant and informative”

  • Home-School Support Worker, South Gloucestershire

    “The Parents Plus training was just great; the programme itself is well structured and Parentss Plus Ttrainer made the training fun and he was very supportive”.

  • Rhonda Murphy, Service Manager Chance for Change, Derry

    “The Parents Plus facilitator training was invaluable and a very positive experience. Staff felt a huge benefit from the training particularly on how to facilitate groups As a result of training I have observed changes in staff practices – they are more solution focused in their approach and more skilled at actually facilitating and able to get parents to help themselves more effectively. I believe training is essential in order to deliver effectively.”

  • I’m mum to one fabulous, fun, energetic and exhausting girl….

    “I’m mum to one fabulous, fun, energetic and exhausting girl who’s turning five next week (Don’t know where that time has gone). Long journey to parenthood for us and we don’t take it for granted. We’re far from perfect but try our best everyday. Some days are wonderful – others not so much. I took the leap and signed up to a Parents Plus parenting course. The support, encouragement and skills shared and learned were so much more than I’d expected. For any parents out there who are struggling or want to do better, I’d encourage you to make the time to find a local resource that are there to help. Invest in your relationship with your child – you’ll both benefit.”

  • I used to shout and nit pick daily…..

    “I used to shout and nit pick daily. That’s all stopped now thanks to the course and excellent instructors and the open and honest environment created in the course”.


  • Well, I knew I needed a parenting course …

    “Well, I knew I needed a parenting course and at first I was very anxious going in on my own because  I’m a widow with three young children and I’m …but the support was absolutely wonderful…”

  • I found it very hard to come along …

    “I found it very hard to come along to the parents’ class because I thought nobody was going to have a child like my child. It was absolutely great being able to say well my child has this bad behaviour and he wasn’t the only one with bad behaviour. Other children had done exactly same thing. As parents we benefited greatly from the clinic, we got a lot of emotions out – laughed, cried, and joked. It was time out.”

  • I found the Parents Plus group absolutely helped …

    “I found the Parents Plus group absolutely helped us as parents and it also definitely helped David. When we first came along to the group I honestly didn’t think that anybody could help us whatsoever. Because he was violent towards everybody, he was violent towards me and he’s called me all names under the sun but ever since I’ve done the sessions I’m a lot happier and I know David is a lot happier. He’s a lot calmer, he doesn’t harm his sister anymore, his sister is happier, his mother is happier. As Tina was saying, the house is just a lot calmer and he’s actually fun to be around now.”

  • One of the key things that the Parents Plus …

    “One of the key things that the Parents Plus course has given me is a sense of hope and a sense of understanding that there are other people in similar situations and I think that is very important for a parent because you do feel very lonely in the world that you have to deal with a child with these certain difficulties that other children and other parents don’t seem to experience so just that idea of meeting people who have gone through the same experiences and are dealing with the same problems as you are on a day to day basis as you are gives you an awful lot of strength and a lot of confidence to go on with your life and building that relationship with your child.”

  • I found doing the Parents Plus course really very helpful …

    “I found doing the Parents Plus course really very helpful, I must say I went in thinking ‘Everybody will think I’m here that I have a problem with parenting’ but I soon realised that the people coming were the people that were already good parents and that wanted to do the best for their children, who wanted to do a very important job even better. It really did help my life considerably and helped the way that we related to each other as a family.”

  • Well it was an experience for me to understand …

    “Well it was an experience for me to understand my son Anthony more than I used to before I went to the Parents Plus course as in not to think that he was just being bold or being a bully, but more to understand the pressures that he is under and what it is like to be out there today with friends and peer pressure and every thing else”

  • I think the Parents Plus course was fantastic …

    “I think the Parents Plus course was fantastic, you know I was lost before, I was really lost before I  went into it, and then each time I went to the course, each day coming out of it I just felt more confident, you gave me the tools to do the things right, and the exercises at home. I just couldn’t  wait to get back to do more because I knew by the end of the week I was kind of losing it again, you know. Everything you taught us to do we did at home and put into practice and they’ve really worked.”

  • Really positive – I was very unsure about going …

    “Really positive – I was very unsure about going to the Parents Plus group, I thought people were going to criticize me, but the course gave me the tools I needed in a friendly way…I just need to remember to press the pause button!”

  • Overall the Parents Plus course was really helpful …

    “Overall the Parents Plus course was really helpful and I’m so glad I did it, and, if my experience or any of my feelings can help anybody else, then it’s well worth it. There was a group of us, mothers and fathers, everyone of us had one or two children but we all had the common problem that we couldn’t  manage our children. Today to be able to manage my children and feel that I am a good mother is worth everything to me and I think that the children have reaped the benefit of it too.”

  • I think that when we started on the Parents Plus …

    “I think that when we started on the Parents Plus course I thought maybe it would be, ‘this is what you’re doing wrong, that’s what you’re doing wrong,’ instead of that I found that it emphasised the positive aspects. We all felt that we were good parents that were doing a lot of things right.”