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
· Quality in Prevention and Early Intervention policy, service & practice.
“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 Workswas 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 (Whatworks.gov.ie) 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 (https://outcomes4children.tusla.ie/), 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.