About the ABC Programme

The Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme is a national Prevention and Early Intervention (PEIN) Programme funded by the Department of Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth (DCDEIY), delivered through the Prevention Partnership and Family Support Programme (PPFS) within Tusla. Delivered in twelve different areas of disadvantage around the country, it was originally funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) and the Atlantic Philanthropies between 2013 and 2017.

ABC Vision: An Ireland where no child is impacted by poverty and all children are supported to reach their full potential.

ABC Mission: Through prevention and early intervention approaches, the Area Based Childhood Programme aims to work in partnership with families, practitioners, communities, and national stakeholders to deliver better outcomes for children and families living in areas where poverty is most deeply entrenched.

ABC Objectives

  • Support children at critical stages of their development and wellbeing and through key transitions, with a particular focus on pre-birth to six years of age.
  • Translate the science of early childhood development and evidence-informed practice into locally appropriate programmes and approaches.
  • Mitigate the impact of intergenerational poverty and improve outcomes for children and families.
  • Take a progressive universal approach to address child poverty.
  • Actively support and work in partnership with parents as the primary careers and educators in their children’s lives.
  • Enhance the provision of quality prevention and early intervention approaches by developing workforce capacity (education, training, coaching, mentoring and reflection) across children’s services.
  • Utilise and enable whole-systems, multi-stage processes to enhance children’s services and practice at local and national level to improve outcomes for children.
  • Use monitoring and evaluation systems to inform our practice and measure impact.
  • Share the learning and work to embed effective practices in all children’s services.
  • Inform policy development at local and national levels where ABC areas are utilised to test, evaluate and disseminate intervention processes and outcomes.

ABC Delivery Approaches

ABC sites operate at three levels of change:

  • Frontline delivery of PEI services for children and families which support early child development
  • Capacity building, facilitation, and support to other service providers to implement evidence-based ways of working
  • Systems change efforts with managers and decision-makers at local, regional and national level.

ABC National Evaluation 

The Area Based Childhood Programme National Evaluation | CES (effectiveservices.org) found evidence that the ABC Programme made a positive contribution to:

  • Improved outcomes for children and families: child-parent relationships, children’s learning and school readiness, and children’s social and emotional well-being. It also found that the home learning environment for children in the Dublin Docklands and East Inner City had improved significantly. 
  • Changes for practitioners and service managers participating in the programme 
  • Changes to service planning and delivery. 

Docklands and East Inner City ABC Programme

NCI is the lead agency for the Dublin Docklands and East Inner City ABC Programme. The ABC Programme enables us in collaboration with our colleagues in the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Tusla and local partners to address key educational and social issues for children and families in the community. Building upon the existing expertise and interventions in the area, we provide from pre-birth an integrated programme of interventions and support for children, their parents and families, and educators.

Together, through our ABC Consortium, we are:

  • Improving the well-being, developmental and learning outcomes of children (0-8 years)
  • Increasing parental skills, knowledge and engagement in all areas of their children’s development and learning
  • Ensuring effective transitions for children at key developmental stages and between home, primary schools, early years, statutory & community services
  • Continuing to improve the quality of the services (statutory, community and voluntary) provided to children and their families
  • Enhancing the existing interagency collaboration within the area, including implementing the Meitheal Practice Model

Enabling children and their families to experience a safe, secure, stable, caring, holistic, learning and restorative environment at home, in services.

Working in partnership with Government

Through its ongoing support of ELI, the Government directly helps children and young people to reach their full potential in all areas of learning and development. Implementing Government policy at local level is the foundation of all ELI’s programmes. Through its investment in ELI’s programmes, the Government is delivering on Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-15 (DCYA 2014) and First 5, A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families (DCYA 2018), thereby ensuring that education is at the heart of a more cohesive, more equal and more successful society and the engine of sustainable growth. Its support has been very influential in helping us improve outcomes for the children and young people we work with.

Dublin's Inner City ABC Programmes are: