Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020
Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020 was approved by Government and launched by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, on 16 April 2014 and will run from 2014 - 2020.
Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures represents the first overarching national children’s policy framework comprehending the age ranges spanning children and young people (0 – 24 years). It adopts a whole of Government approach and will be underpinned by a number of constituent strategies in the areas of early years, youth and participation.
The views of a wide range of interests, including those of children and young people themselves, shaped the development of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and it is informed by the following inputs:
- The results of a consultation in 2011, which centred around children and young people, in which almost 67,000 people throughout the country participated. The results of the analysis of the consultation were published in November 2012;
- A public consultation of the general public, conducted in 2012, during which over 1000 submissions were received. An analysis of the submissions was completed in April 2013; and
- The advice of the National Children’s Advisory Council which represented a range of statutory and non-statutory organisations working with children and young people.
In summary Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures:
- sets out and centralises common outcomes
- captures 163 policy commitments
- identifies key transformational goals necessitating action
- provides for an innovative and effective way of working.
Major Innovations of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures:
- Establish a shared set of outcomes for children and young people towards which all government departments and agencies, statutory services and the voluntary and community sectors will work, to ensure a coherent response for children and young people.
- Identify the range of commitments in place across government and progress these based on a structured, systematic and outcomes focused approach.
- Prioritise the key cross-cutting transformational goals under each outcome area, which requires concerted and coordinated action to ensure the realisation of the respective outcomes.
- Emphasise an integrated and evidence informed approach to working across government, on horizontal and vertical levels, which transfers to all sectors and settings working with children and young people.
Through the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and its supporting strategies (Early Years, Youth and Participation), the Government aims to achieve the following Transformational Goals to support the achievement of better outcomes for all children and young people:
• Support Parents
Parents will experience improved support in the important task of parenting and feel more confident, informed and able.
• Earlier Intervention & Prevention
A key target for this goal is to lift over 70,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020. It also focuses on issues such as access to affordable early years education, childhood obesity and youth mental health. It seeks to shift the emphasis from crisis intervention to prevention and early intervention.
For example, the Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme targets investment in evidence informed initiatives to improve the long term outcomes for children and young people living in areas of disadvantage. This includes combatting poverty as well as early intervention and prevention which helps children and young people at risk to realise their potential and supports them and their families.
• A culture that listens to, and involves children and young people
The Government will promote a culture which not only recognises, protects and fulfils the rights of children and young people but also encourages them to actively participate in Irish public life.
• Quality services, outcomes driven, effective, efficient and trusted
Government investment in children will be evidence based and informed by national and international evidence. Services aimed at children will be obliged to prove their effectiveness and value for money. Irish education will be internationally benchmarked to ensure that children leave school with the capacity to deal with a rapidly changing world. Agencies charged with safeguarding the welfare of children will be trusted, and their contribution to improving the lives of children will be valued.
• Effective Transitions
Transitions at key developmental stages and between child and adult services will be strengthened. Improving young people’s employment opportunities will also be emphasised.
• Cross Departmental and Interagency Coordination and Collaboration
The public sector will be reformed substantially, resulting in improved implementation, greater cross-Government coordination and collaboration, increased accountability and resource efficiency. The State and its partners will work better together and plan service provision in a way that is child-centred and benefits from interagency and multidisciplinary working.
For example, the Children and Young People’s Services Committees are an important vehicle for local interagency work. CYPSCs bring together a diverse range of agencies at local county level to engage in joint planning of services for children and young people.
The key groupings involved in the implementation infrastructure of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures are the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium, the Sponsors Group, the Advisory Council and the Children’s and Young People's Services Committees National Steering Group together with the children and young people’s participatory structures Comhairle na nÓg and the Structured Dialogue Working Group. Participation by the latter two groupings will ensure that the voice of children and young people clearly informs the implementation of the framework.
An Implementation Team within DCYA has been established to lead, coordinate and monitor implementation. The Implementation Team can be contacted at: PolicyInnovation@dcya.gov.ie.