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National Home Visiting Day: launch of What Works Home Visiting Alliance Feasibility Study

The Home Visiting Alliance - in person and online - with Director of ELI, Dr Josephine Bleach; President of NCI, Professor Gina Quin; Mary Lou McDonald TD

The Early Learning Initiative at National College of Ireland hosted National Home Visiting Day today, recognising 4,340 children, parents, families and 200 Home Visitors across 40 local programme sites in Ireland are working together to ensure our most vulnerable children thrive and have a better, brighter future. 

  • 4,340 children aged 0-5 years currently benefit from Home Visiting.  
  • This is only 1% of the eligible population.

Central to the celebrations was the launch, introduced by NCI President, Professor Gina Quin, of a feasibility study by Susan Brocklesby, on behalf of the Home Visiting Alliance, funded by the  Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth What Works Initiative, highlighting the national infrastructure required to ensure our most vulnerable children receive home visiting.  

The recommendations of the study would advance home visiting in Ireland in a gradual and sustained way, starting with the 12,400 babies born into poverty this year. Ultimately, the vision would be for every child in Ireland to be offered a home visiting programme. 

The Home Visiting Alliance has circulated this document to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the HSE, Tusla, and others. 

Dr Josephine Bleach, Director of the Early Learning Initiative and Chair of the Home Visiting Alliance, addressed the audience: 

“Our constitution declares we should cherish all our children equally – but we don’t. Often we don’t consider how broader actions impact on our children, such as during the last recession, when the recruitment freeze meant no new Public Health Nurses, and much of the Home Visiting they had organised was lost to Ireland as Public Health Nurses retired and were not replaced. Acting on this Feasibility Study would create an aligned national policy umbrella that would ensure sustainability going forward, as well as providing a foundation for upscaling.” 

Responding, Mary Lou McDonald, Leader of Sinn Féin and TD for the Dublin Central constituency (which encompasses NCI), expressed her interest in the study: 

“The approach of the Home Visiting Alliance clearly works and needs to be rolled out to more families: we must prioritise our children.”  

Irish home-visiting programmes are already highly valued by Tusla and the HSE, including being outlined as actions within the Government’s First Five Strategy, Tusla Parenting Support Strategy Implementation Plan 2021-2023, and the HSE Mental Health Promotion Plan. 

The What Works Home Visiting Alliance Feasibility Study offers a sustainable, scalable strategy to achieve goals that align with current government policies. 

Early childhood home visiting is a proven service delivery strategy that helps children and families thrive. It connects parents with a Home Visitor who guides them through those precious early stages of raising a family, addressing developmental delays, educational disadvantage, parental isolation and poor mental health.  

Peer-led and community-based, a continuum of support is provided with first-time parents and families who are socially isolated and experiencing challenging circumstances prioritized. 

Research, including multiple randomised control trials (RCTs) and other evaluations, has found significant improvements in child health, well-being, and school readiness, and parent self-sufficiency.  

Celebrations, similar to the one held at National College of Ireland, took place through this month in Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Cork, Athlone, Ballinasloe and in Darndale, Dublin. 

The What Works Home Visiting Alliance Feasibility Study is available on the Home Visiting Alliance website.


More about the Early Learning Initiative 

Partnering with Government and local communities, the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) develops and delivers programmes to improve the educational aspirations and outcomes of children and young people. It has grown from 400 local participants (children, parents, and professionals) to 14,000+ a year, now supporting communities across the country. ELI is always interested in talking to people who wish to learn more about their work. Contact  


More about the Home Visiting Alliance 

HVA is the collective national voice of early childhood home visiting in Ireland. Members of PEIN – Prevention and Early Intervention Network, we are motivated by a shared commitment to promoting the effective use of home visiting as a mechanism to enhance the health and well-being of children, parents and families. Contact:

  • Promoting home visiting from pre-birth or during pregnancy as an essential early years vital service for children, parents and families. 
  • Supporting member organisations, collectively and individually, to strengthen and broaden the impact of home visiting in Ireland. 
  • Contributing to policy development and implementation in relation to early childhood home visiting and parent support locally, nationally and internationally. 
  • Share our common learning at programme, implementation, sustainability and policy levels.