Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, has today announced that an additional nine areas have been selected to enter the design stage of the Area-Based Childhood (ABC) Programme 2013-2016 in line with a key Programme for Government commitment.
This bring the total number of areas to 13, as three existing projects which participated in a forerunner PEIP programme in Tallaght, Ballymun and Darndale have already been approved for entry into the new ABC Programme, and a further project in the Midlands is being included, linked to the existing ‘Preparing for Life’ project in Darndale. The new projects are listed below.
The Minister also confirmed that the Programme has attracted 50% co-funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies, bringing total funding to nearly €30m.
The ABC programme targets additional investment in evidence-based early interventions to improve the long-term outcomes for children and families living in areas of disadvantage.
The project has been managed by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs in conjunction with the Office of an Tánaiste.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore TD who is co-sponsoring the initiative said: “I am extremely pleased with the progress to date on the ABC Programme. This is an initiative that is already making a real and positive difference to the lives of children and their families in disadvantaged areas. I look forward to the outcome of the design phase which will see this programme extended from the existing three sites, to up to thirteen areas, not just the ten we committed to do in the Programme for Government. The Government is deeply grateful to Atlantic Philanthropies who, as co-funders, have worked closely with us to ensure that additional areas of disadvantage will be able to benefit from inclusion in this important initiative.”
Minster Fitzgerald stated “I am delighted that, following a very competitive process, nine further proposals have emerged which have the potential to enter the programme, joining the three sites already approved. It would not be possible for us to consider bringing this many areas into the programme were it not for the generosity of The Atlantic Philanthropies, who are matching the €14.85m the Government have made available to the programme.
“The Programme for Government announced that “up to ten” areas would eventually be approved for entry into such a programme. In fact, it is hoped that 13 areas will now benefit in total and I believe it is a testament to our commitment as a country to our children. These programmes have been shown – both at home and abroad – to succeed in substantially improving the life-long outcomes of children in less advantaged communities, and represent a sound, and very cost-effective investment in our nation’s future.”
“I also look forward to the lessons that will be learnt in rolling out these interventions in the context of this programme, and the impact this will have on mainstream service provision in our schools, health services and the Child and Family Agency which is being established in January.”
Minister Fitzgerald noted that evaluations to date from pilot programmes operated at the three existing PEIP sites in Ballymun, Darndale and Tallaght have demonstrated significant improvements in outcomes for children in a number of domains including:
o parenting programmes have a positive impact in tackling the early onset of behavioural and emotional problems among children as well as reducing parental stress and improving parental wellbeing;
o programmes to support pro-social skills, emotion understanding, social problem have shown significant improvements in school attendance and improvements in children’s’ behaviour towards each other; and
Mary Sutton of Atlantic Philanthropies stated: “Atlantic Philanthropies is delighted to be a partner with Government in the ABC Programme. For us it is an exciting opportunity for the learning from our investments in Prevention and Early Intervention to be embedded in mainstream services for children and families.”