On the right track: learning from prevention and early intervention in Ireland

Status: Ongoing


From 2004 to 2016, The Atlantic Philanthropies, sometimes together with Government and other organisations invested in 52 prevention and early intervention services and programmes across the island of Ireland. Programmes aimed to improve outcomes for children and their parents, in areas of their lives such as child health, behaviour, parenting, inclusion and learning. This was known as the Prevention and Early Intervention Initiative.

Programmes were independently evaluated as a condition of their funding.  Findings from the evaluations are relevant and useful in the design and implementation of services for children and young people. Learning from the initiative has already been used to inform the design and delivery of programmes in Ireland and Northern Ireland, including the Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme, an initiative introduced by the Irish Government in 2013 which aims to improve outcomes for children living in disadvantaged areas, and the Early Intervention Transformation Programme, an Executive Office programme which aims to transform mainstream services in Northern Ireland.

Our Role

Since 2008, CES has liaised with organisations delivering the programmes, to summarise learning from the evaluations of individual programmes and to disseminate the findings. In 2012 and 2013, CES published a series of interim reports and briefing papers in six outcome areas which summarised findings from the evaluations available at that time.  In 2014, CES published 'Ten Years of Learning', a report which brings together learning from all six of the interim reports. The report was launched in both Dublin and Belfast.

In 2016, CES updated these reports to include the findings from all programme evaluations. A new set of summaries includes key messages for commissioners and service providers, and describes key features of effective programmes and services. They outline why prevention and early intervention approaches are beneficial in designing and implementing services. Each summary includes an infographic which summarises the programme and the change in each particular outcome area. 

Interim reports and briefing papers which were published in 2013 along with individual programme evaluations are all available in the Resources section of this website.