Peer Review in Ireland: Prevention and early intervention services to address children at risk of poverty
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Ireland is in the process of developing a more coordinated and integrated approach to children’s services, aimed at tackling the complex problems of disadvantaged families in a more joined-up and holistic way. This Peer Review looked at Irish good practice and harnessed learning from other EU Member States.
Date: 18-19 February 2016
Peer countries: Belgium - Bulgaria - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Estonia - Germany - Greece - Lithuania - Netherlands
Stakeholders: Save the children, SOS Children’s Villages International
The following key learning points emerged from this Peer Review:
- The pre-birth and 0-3 years are vital to a child’s future development. Prevention and early intervention are a real long-term investment.
- Political will is important to ensure adequate resources and a long term approach. This needs to be built and constantly reinforced.
- A broad holistic policy mix is essential, as well as support for parental employment and adequate child and family benefits.
- Develop a system-wide approach that is multi-dimensional, strategic and integrated.
- Combine universal and targeted services as this will increase public support and help to improve the quality of services.
- Focus on local level and coordination is important.
- Reach out to children and families most at risk.
- To ensure quality, invest in building capacity across agencies, including training and mentoring for professionals.
- Data and evaluation is important for evidence-based policy, as is involving stakeholders.
- Foster the participation of children, parents and communities, for better service delivery.
- Put children’s rights at the heart of policy and programme development.
- Working with families is vital but not a substitute for children’s rights and services.
- The EU level can provide valuable support through, for example, benchmarking, monitoring and recommendations to Member States.
- It is necessary to strengthen the status of social policies vis-à-vis economic governance.
Peer Review manager
Renate Haupfleisch (ÖSB Consulting GmbH)