Area Based Childhood Programme (ABC)
The Area-Based Childhood (ABC) Programme was announced in the Programme for Government and will run from 2013 – 2016. It reflects the Government’s commitment to adopt an area-based approach to help reduce child poverty by improving outcomes for children. The total amount of funding available to the ABC Programme will be €29.7m and it is being jointly funded by the DCYA and Atlantic Philanthropies. The ABC Programme incorporates the Prevention and Early Intervention Programme (PEIP) which ran from 2007 to 2013. Total funding of €36m was made available to the PEIP programme which was also jointly funded by the DCYA and Atlantic Philanthropies. The objective of the PEIP was to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of integrated methods of service delivery and disseminate the learning into policy and services for children in three sites.
The ABC programme targets investment in evidence-informed interventions to improve the long-term outcomes for children and families living in areas of disadvantage. It aims to break “the cycle of child poverty within areas where it is most deeply entrenched and where children are most disadvantaged, through integrated and effective services and interventions” (Programme for Government, 2013) in the areas of child development, child well-being, parenting and educational disadvantage.
The key messages informing the ABC programme are:
• Early intervention helps children and young people at risk to realise their potential and can support them and their families to become healthier and more resilient.
• Prevention and early intervention can have life-long effects on outcomes for children and young people, such as better mental health and reduced juvenile crime.
• There is evidence showing that early intervention can be more cost effective and later intervention can be expensive and less effective, causing hardship and suffering for those at risk including children, families and communities.
• A number of major prevention and early intervention projects are being piloted in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This work is based on International evidence of what works.
The following structures have been established to support the implementation of the ABC programme:
A Project Team was set up in February 2013 to oversee the implementation of the ABC programme. The Project Team is chaired by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and includes representatives from seven other Government Departments, its co-funders The Atlantic Philanthropies, as well as the two managing agencies of the programme, Pobal and the Centre for Effective Services (CES).
Government Departments represented on the Project Team are the Office of the Tánaiste, Office of the Taoiseach, Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, Department of Social Protection, Department of Education & Skills, Department of Health and Department of Environment Community and Local Government.
A Working Group to support the Project Team and undertake the assessment process is chaired by DCYA with representatives from the CES, Atlantic Philanthropies and Pobal.
Expert Advisory Committee
An Expert Advisory Committee for the ABC Programme is charged with advising on the evaluation of the ABC programme and membership includes national and international experts on children’s research.
Management of ABC
Pobal and CES have been engaged by the co-funders to manage the funding and programme support of the ABC programme.
For more information on the ABC Programme, please contact: PolicyInnovation@dcya.gov.ie.