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National evaluation of ABC Programme shows positive changes for children, parents and service delivery

Reports from the national evaluation of the Area Based Childhood Programme conducted by CES are now available. The ABC Programme is an area-based prevention and early intervention initiative which aims to improve outcomes for children and families living in areas of disadvantage in Ireland.

In 2015 CES was tasked with conducting the national evaluation. We engaged with a wide range of Programme stakeholders including parents, practitioners, service managers, the funders and representatives from regional and national organisations, to evaluate the outcomes, implementation and costs of the Programme between 2015 and 2017. In designing and implementing this complex evaluation, the CES team carried out extensive consultation and review of the literature; developed an evaluation methodology that involved and built the capacity of practitioners in gathering data; and analysed outcomes, implementation and cost data.

The evaluation found positive changes for children, parents and services, including:

Positive changes in outcomes for children and parents availing of services. For example, there were improvements in children’s social and emotional wellbeing, their readiness for school, and parents reported better relationships with their children.

Changes in how services were delivered locally, including new and expanded services, new ways of working, increased capacity to collect and use data and evidence in services, and better understanding of the value of data.

New and stronger relationships between agencies and between practitioners providing services for children and their families at local level.

The reports provide extensive learning about how effective models of service delivery, building capacity of practitioners, interagency working and evidence-informed approaches can make a positive contribution to the lives of children and families experiencing disadvantage.

The ABC Programme was funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and The Atlantic Philanthropies, with an investment of €30.7 million between 2013 and 2017. The Programme is currently funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

A main report, and a shorter summary report are available. CES is also developing additional resources which will be available in 2019.