Real Needs. Clear Evidence

Local communities have great expectations for children, young people and families and work strenuously to ensure that children thrive. However, the available data on vital matters such as child literacy, language development and mental health all demonstrate that in Ireland's most disadvantaged communities' children continue to lag behind national averages and norms. Whilst the causes of this lag lie in macro economic, environmental and social structures, services to children and families across the life-cycle can make a key contribution to equality of outcomes for children and families and are highly valued and championed by local communities.  If we invest in services to children and families, and if we encourage or require children and families to avail of them, we have a duty of care to ensure that those services are highly likely to make a positive and measurable contribution to specific outcomes such as child literacy, child welfare and child mental health that are fundamental to quality of life, social relations and employment in adult life.

For too long the development of services to children and families in Ireland's most disadvantaged communities has relied on available funding lines, together with local knowledge, and available energy, interests and skills to develop services. They have often been developed in response to crises such as early school leaving, anti-social behaviour and child risk and protection and most frequently without access or reference to the national and international evidence of what works. They are usually developed piece-meal without the cohesion of an overarching vision and an integrated cross-sectoral community service strategy.

Engaging with the national and international evidence of what has delivered outcomes in other related contexts - committing to only doing what works - is the cornerstone underpinning youngballymun.

Doing what works means:

  • Working out the key outcomes to be achieved with and for children, young people and families
  • Examining the evidence of what has and has not worked in various national and international contexts in relation to delivering on these outcomes
  • Considering that evidence together with cross-sectoral partners in the light of the local community's collective resources, strengths and needs
  • Designing together an integrated cross-community service plan and the specific services to be delivered across the life cycle within that
  • Identifying the key service partners with responsibility for service implementation with fidelity to the practices and methods that deliver results
  • Identifying how the key outcomes to be achieved will be measured, communicated and tracked over time
  • Reflecting on the evidence from such measurement with the community and all partners to inform ongoing decision-making about each service and the overarching integrated service plan

All of the evidence relating to the causes and prevention of anti-social behaviour and crime, of early school leaving, of poor mental health highlights the vital and fundamental importance of Prevention and Early Intervention.    For more information on youngballymun's Prevention and Early Intervention model, click here.

For more information on youngballymun's evidence-based approaches, click here.