Minister Andrews opens Forum promoting more effective services for children and families

Resource type: News

Forum on Prevention and Early Intervention for Children and Youth |

Forum on Prevention and Early Intervention for Children and Youth a joint initiative by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and The Atlantic Philanthropies Croke Park, Dublin Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD, said that prevention and early intervention is central to better children’s services.

‘I would like to commend the pioneers in early intervention projects, as their work requires not just innovation, but leadership, flexibility, courage and persistence’ stated Minister Barry Andrews.

Minster Andrews was speaking at the opening of the two-day Forum on Prevention and Early Intervention for Children and Youth, a networking event hosted by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The Forum comprises a showcase of 25 innovative projects in the area of children’s services around the country; a series of expert keynote speakers; and workshops on key themes in prevention and early intervention for children.

‘This Forum is a unique opportunity to make linkages between leaders in innovation and to help crystallise emerging ideas about how to make services more effective for children and families’ said Minister Andrews.

Minister Barry Andrews welcomed Mr. Gerry Kelly, MLA, from the Office of the Minister and Deputy First Minister from Northern Ireland and Ms. Marcia Smith, Vice-President of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

‘My Office is focused on driving and promoting the implementation of policies which improve children’s life chances. These projects represent the leading edge in the effort to find out what works and why and assist us in promoting what is learned, so that it influences policy and practice’ continued Minister Andrews.

Marcia Smith, Vice President, The Atlantic Philanthropies commented ‘this initiative seeks to make lasting improvements in the lives of disadvantaged children through preventive programmes. The focus is very much on keeping these children healthy, engaged in learning and connected to key supports. International research supports earlier intervention to secure better longer-term outcomes for those disadvantaged by background or family circumstances. Support in the early years impacts positively on life chances by promoting a child’s emotional and physical development. On-going support and intervention at key points during childhood and adolescence help build on early success and prevent the onset of problem behaviours and underachievement. This programme, when coupled with support for families to provide parents with the personal skills and resources they need, can help build a positive family environment for children to develop and achieve their full potential’.

The Minister noted that the collaboration between the Government and The Atlantic Philanthropies is strengthening policy-making and service delivery and building capacity for more dynamic and innovative thinking. ‘I would like to compliment The Atlantic Philanthropies for their particular contribution to that work’ concluded Minster Andrews.