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Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme Overview



The Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme is a prevention and early intervention initiative targeting investment in effective services to improve outcomes for children and families living in areas of disadvantage. The Programme is co-funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), and The Atlantic Philanthropies, with an investment of almost €32 million between 2013 and 2017. It builds on the work of the Prevention and Early Intervention Programme (PEIP) 2007-2013.

The aim of the programme is to test and evaluate innovative prevention and early intervention approaches to improve outcomes for children and families at risk of poverty. It offers programmes in 13 sites around the country, most of which are led by local consortia who co-ordinate the planning and delivery of services in their area. The focus of the work under the ABC Programme covers in the main: Child Health & Development, Children’s Learning, Parenting, and Integrated Service Delivery.

For more details on the ABC Programme, and the interventions and programmes being offered across the 13 sites, please see the ABC Programme Overview.


The ABC Programme is overseen by an interdepartmental project team, chaired by DCYA.  Pobal and the Centre for Effective Services (CES) have been engaged by the co-funders to manage the funding and programme support of the ABC Programme. A summary of the Programme Governance and Management Structures of the ABC Programme can be found here.



A key aim of the Programme is to ensure that the learning is mainstreamed into established areas of policy and provision, improving outcomes for children, young people and families throughout Ireland. It aims to embed effective practices in mainstream services and to ensure services being delivered make the most impact, are timely and accessible, and have the potential to become sustainable and mainstreamed. The National evaluation of the ABC Programme is currently underway, and is expected to be completed in 2018. The findings from this, as well as the learning from the programme will be utilised to inform the delivery of prevention and early intervention initiatives in order to achieve our shared goal of improving the lives of children and families throughout Ireland.

DCYA hosted an Open Policy Debate event in February 2017, at which the main stakeholders met to review the Programme to date. This offered the opportunity to showcase effective interventions and programmes and to provide a forum to exchange learning and look at opportunities for mainstreaming.



A national evaluation of the ABC Programme was undertaken by the Centre for Effective Services (CES). The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the impact of the ABC Programme nationally, across the programme's three broad outcomes: improved parenting, improved children's learning, and improved child health and development. It also aimed to assess the extent the ABC Programme contributed to changes in local service provision, and finally, the costs associated with the services provided under the programme.

The full report of this evaluation can be found here. Appendices to the main report can be found here  

A summary of the report can be found here



Relevant Publications