Research and Evaluation
The function of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs’ Research and Evaluation Unit (REU) is to support the achievement of better outcomes for children and young people through the promotion of evidence based policy development and service delivery. This is achieved through:
- Working with key partners to support research and research capacity building, and to improve knowledge and data, in areas relating to children’s lives.
- Developing and delivering a programme of evaluation relevant to the work of the Department.
- Supporting the work of the Department and its stakeholders by providing data and the development of a statistical database to support planning, monitoring and policy formulation.
- Promoting the translation and application of knowledge to support the development of evidence-based policy development and service delivery.
Key elements of the Research and Evaluation Unit’s work programme supporting the achievement of these aims are:
Growing Up in Ireland
Established in 2006, Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) is the, DCYA sponsored, national longitudinal study of children. GUI regularly collects a wide range of information from almost 20,000 children and their families recruited into the study between 2007 and 2009. The aim of GUI is to examine the factors that contribute to, or undermine, the well-being of children and young people and provide an evidence base to help inform the development of effective policies and services.
For a comprehensive description of related GUI activities, including information on publications, accessing study data and scholarship opportunities see here.
As the representative Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) unit within DCYA, the REU is responsible for conducting evaluation projects in policy areas across the Department, in fulfilment of Public Spending Code requirements.
The REU’s work supports the development of evidence-based policy, while also supporting the broader aim of improving outcomes for children and young people.
Projects include Focused Policy Assessments, Value for Money and Policy Reviews and engagement in Spending Review cycles, with technical and evaluation inputs also provided to Units across the DCYA on an ongoing basis.
Published evaluation reports will be published on the IGEES website. Also see Value for Money and Policy Review of Youth programmes.
The role of the statistics function in DCYA is to provide data and statistical support to aid planning, monitoring and policy formation. This includes the collation of data from a diversity of sources to create a comprehensive record of indicators on the subject of children and young people’s well-being in Ireland.
Key outputs include:
- The biennial publication of the ‘State of the Nation’s Children’.
- The development of an Indicator set to support Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures (Report on the Indicator Set for Better Outcomes Brighter Future).
- The provision of both aggregate and disaggregated data for the BOBF indicator set.
- The development of the DCYA statistical database. The database will serve as a central location for users to access data relevant to the well-being of children and young people. For additional details see here.
- One-off focused analysis of topical issues relating to children and young people’s well-being provided by the ‘Statistical Spotlight Series’.
Evidence into Policy Programme
The aim of the Evidence into Policy Programme (EiPP), working in conjunction with other REU functions, is to support and meet Departmental research and evidence needs with respect to core Departmental and Government policy priorities, through a variety of research streams (building the evidence chain) and knowledge-transfer activities (promoting the uptake and use of evidence to drive policy change), to thereby support evidence-informed policymaking.
See here for a list of EiPP outputs to date.
DCYA, and its predecessor the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, have funded a number of schemes designed to facilitate a better understanding of children’s lives, both through the promotion of research in general, and through the use of GUI data in particular.
For a list of funded schemes, and their associated publications and outputs, see here.
The purpose of the National Strategy for Research and Data on Children’s Lives was to agree a plan to guide and support the development of research and data around children’s lives for the 5-year lifetime of the strategy (2011-2016) and beyond, with the intention of ensuring children and young people benefited from improved understandings of their lives.
23 organisations participated in the strategy and a number of reports providing details of the strategy’s progress to date have been published. In addition, a number of reports, which were written in response to specific actions within strategy, were also published.
For implementation reports and other outputs associated with the NSRDCL, including additional information on how the plan was developed see here.