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The Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme 2013-2017 is a prevention and early intervention initiative targeting evidence informed investment in services to improve outcomes for children and families living in areas of disadvantage. It is co-funded by the DCYA and The Atlantic Philanthropies with a total investment of almost €30 million between 2013 and 2017.

The ABC programme was established in 2013 in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government to adopt an area-based approach to tackling child poverty.  The initiative builds on the Prevention and Early Intervention Programme (PEIP) which ran from 2007 to 2013. The PEIP, also co-funded by  DCYA and the Atlantic Philanthropies, was delivered in Ballymun, Dublin Northside and Tallaght West.  The learning from these is investments is being brought together under the Quality and Capacity Building Initiative (QCBI) which will take a coordinated approach to enhance capacity, knowledge and quality in prevention and early intervention for children, young people and their families.

The ABC Programme aims to embed effective practice and programmes 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.

ABC areas are implementing a range of programmes and services in a variety of settings including schools, early years settings and in the home.  Emphasis is being placed on enhancing interagency collaboration to ensure services being delivered are timely, accessible and have the potential to be mainstreamed.   The focus of work under the ABC
Programme covers in the main:
•    Child Health & Development
•    Children’s Learning
•    Parenting
•    Integrated Service Delivery

National interim reports on the ABC Programme will be provided from mid-2016 with the final national evaluation reports due in 2018.

Learning from the ABC Programme will be captured and consideration given to mainstreaming this learning in respective policy domains. Mainstreaming involves discerning the key factors and features of effective responses delivered through the ABC sites and transferring learning from examination of those factors features into more established domains of policy and provision to improve outcomes for children and young people.  The Department is currently engaged with a variety of stakeholders to establish how this can be achieved.  

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