A new study shows people who take part in parenting intervention programmes are more confident in their abilities to help with their child's development.
Research from Maynooth University highlights the benefits for parents who receive supports.
The ENRICH programme involved a five-year research investigation of a new service called the 'Upto2/Parent and Baby Programme'.
It combines many different health and education-related parenting supports, and was given to almost 400 parents and their children aged between zero and two in west Dublin and Louth.
The research, funded by the Health Research Board, found that the parents who received the programme became more confident and more satisfied in their role - and adopted more sensitive and proactive styles and skills when managing their young infants.
These benefits were also sustained after two years.
Parent satisfaction with the programme was also very high.
For example, parents said they became more responsive and attuned to their infants' emotional needs during what many mothers described as 'a challenging time'.
The research also explored how the programme was delivered, and this involved input from over 60 stakeholders.
Research in Ireland has suggested that every €1 invested in prevention and early intervention to support parents and children saves the State €4 in the long term.
The National Economic and Social Forum stated a return on investment of €4-7 for every €1 invested.
Professor Sinéad McGilloway said: "We have also gathered detailed learning on what is needed to ensure that additional 'wraparound' programmes can be delivered successfully by both statutory and voluntary organisations who collaborated closely in designing and delivering this new programme."
"This research further evidences the importance of Government and child and family services adequately investing in universal, high quality, parenting support in order to deliver long-term benefits for families and society at large.
"Our research also shows how to effectively replicate this approach and therefore add value to current early health and social care service provision."
"We encourage decision-makers, managers and government to consider carefully the findings from our ENRICH research programme and ensure that they are used to inform services and policy so that more and more parents can be supported in their children's earliest years."