Integration: Working together

Communities are made up of children, young people, parents, extended families and carers, health service workers, early year's staff, teachers, youth and community workers and many more.  What we achieve for children - we achieve together.  Improving outcomes for every child and young person in any community, and in particular communities challenged with the burdens of poverty and social disadvantage is a collective task. Everyone has their part to play. Everyone's skills, resources and commitment counts.

For too long the norm in Ireland has been to develop services at local level in a piece-meal fashion, without reference to an integrated plan, defined outcomes, evidence-based services and a dedicated resource base. In Ballymun since 2007 that norm has been challenged and is changed.

People and organisations that have been living and working in Ballymun for many years have been doing some good  work but doing it without a guiding strategy and for the most part without a strong evidence base for practice.  For many children and families their life prospects were not being measurably changed.  Different ways of working are being delivered by essentially the same people, services and organisations by incorporating new evidence-based approaches into their work in a planned and integrated way.   This collective change process, focussed on child learning and mental health outcomes,  is called 'youngballymun'.

youngballymun drives a comprehensive integrated change strategy that co-ordinates and re-focuses existing statutory and community services in Ballymun to provide evidence-based supports to children and families across the life cycle, starting with pregnancy and birth.  

youngballymun's change strategy has been carefully designed on the basis of extensive local needs assessment, ongoing consultation and engagement with health, education, justice, community and youth services, with children, young people and families, and with rigourous attention to the evidence-base underpinning every aspect of the work. 

youngballymun is an agent of change by building capacity across existing services to deliver evidence-based reform and to embed that reform into everyday work practice across the community.

youngballymun is a sustainable change strategy giving real value-for-money through integrated evidence based health, education, youth and community services that engage families across the life cycle. This change has delivered measurable improvement in child language and literacy, in child and parent mental health and contributing to breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage that traps, confines and threatens the welfare of up to 20% of Ireland's children.