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Billionaire funds care study for city kids

Resource type: News

Evening Herald (Ireland) |

Original Source

By Kevin Doyle

DUBLIN is to be used for a childcare study that could set the standard for facilities around the world.

As part of €15m investment in child facilities and studies, it is hoped that West Tallaght can set the benchmark for other countries.

The scheme which is part sponsored by Irish American philanthropist Chuck Feeney includes a major evaluation of childcare practices.


The evaluation process alone will cost €1.75m and according to Childhood Development Initiative CEO Marian Quinn, it will be “very significant”.

It will involve a study of early year services, literary services and pro school and community safety initiatives.

“With kids’ services for a long time people have been doing what instinct tells them is the right thing, but often there’s a lack of evidence about the positive outcomes,” explained Ms Quinn. “We’re trying to redress some of that lack of evidence.”

The evaluation will be done through random controlled trials, meaning that children who are provided with some facilities will be compared with others who don’t have the same access.

“It’s a very unusual approach in this environment but it will give a clear indication of what works and why,” Ms Quinn said.

“For example, if child A is in a literacy programme and child B is not, it also looks at how they progressed, as well parent input, the success of referrals, training, management and inter-agency co-operation.”

Six independent evaluation teams have been appointed including experts from some of the country’s top colleges.

The project is being co-funded by the Office of the Minister for Children and Atlantic Philanthropies to the tune of €15m over five years.

A consortium of 23 members representing community leaders, residents and professionals have developed a 10-year strategy called a “A Pace for Children”.

The areas affected include Jobstown, Killinarden, Fettercairn and Brookfield.


Asked why West Tallaght was chosen, Ms Quinn said: “West Tallaght continues to be a disadvantaged area. If you look at school attendance and completion, households dependent on social welfare and lone parents, West Tallaght still has significantly higher rates than the average.

The group is expected to publish its results next year.

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