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Press Release

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launches What Works, a transformative new approach to policy, programmes and practice for children and young people

Published: 19 June 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD has today launched What Works, a Department of Children and Youth Affairs initiative which aims to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention to improve the lives of children and young people. What Works will ensure that key groups working with children, young people and their families know what works, how it works, and it will provide an evidence supported approach to apply to this work.

What Works focuses on enhancing key areas as they relate to children and young people’s services:

  • data and evidence
  • capacity
  • quality in prevention and early intervention policy, service and practice

Speaking at the launch, Minister Zappone said:

“What Works is a co-ordinated effort to support a whole system approach to prevention and early intervention in Ireland. We know that investment in this area can have a genuinely positive effect on the whole life of the child, reducing their need to avail of services at later stages in their lives.”

What Works was developed in response to a decade of development in children and young people’s services. Since then, those working for children and young people across statutory and non-statutory sectors have seen increased emphasis and innovation in the area of prevention and early intervention. This means anticipating possible problems, minimising the risk they arise, and targeting resources at those at high risk or showing early signs of a problem.

Minister Zappone pointed to the capacity of this approach both to combat the risks and emerging issues for children and young people, and to heighten the positives in their lives.

The What Works launch brings together practitioners, providers, policy makers and researchers working with and for children and young people, including grantees under the previous Innovation Funding Scheme and the on-going Network Support Funding Scheme.

The event will include an address from Dr Patrick McCarthy, former President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation on approaches to scaling prevention and early intervention to ensure its success at a population level.

The What Works Launch coincides with the launch of a dedicated website and data hub as part of the initiative. This website will be a single source and resource where information on practice approaches, toolkits, practice guides, professional learning opportunities, and interventions and programmes can be accessed by everyone.

The Outcomes for Children Data Hub, which is linked to this website, provides a sustainable, standardised technical solution for mapping outcomes and indicators for children and young people. It has been developed by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency in conjunction with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs under What Works. This powerful new tool is accessible to all and provides an intuitive web based platform to visualise published data sets. It aligns with the objective of What Works to facilitate practitioners, service providers and policymakers’ access to data to aid in service planning, design and delivery.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

What Works

What Works (formerly QCBI) has been developed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention for children and young people. Four key areas have been identified to achieve this goal. What Works aims to enhance the use and availability of data and evidence; support capacity development; and ensure quality at the levels of policy, service and provision.

The initiative seeks to secure a return on the investment and impact in the area of prevention and early intervention in Ireland over the past decade. It will achieve this by resourcing the key areas so that those working with and for children, young people and their families are supported in doing the right things, in the right way and at the right time.

Funding Measures

2018 Innovation Funding Scheme

Last year, under the Innovation Fund of What Works, awards of over €2 million were announced to 51 organisations across the country to support implementing diverse and innovative projects aimed at improving the lives of children, young people and their families in local communities and nationally. Throughout 2019, work is continuing in many of these projects, and practitioners will be provided with an opportunity to network and share learning across the projects.

2018/2019 What Works Network Support Fund

The Network Support Fund announced in November 2018 aims to support organisations promoting evidence informed approaches to prevention and early intervention services, so that those working with and for children, young people and their families are supported in doing the right things, in the right way and at the right time. Subject to funding availability, this funding scheme will be open to applications until 5th November 2019 and awards will be announced on a rolling basis. To date some €260,000 has been awarded to successful applicants.

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