28/11/2013

Nine New Areas Added To Govt's ABC Programme

Nine new areas have been selected to be included in the design stage of the governments Area-Based Childhood (ABC) Programme, bring the total to 13.

Making the announcement Minister for Children & Youth Affairs Francis Fitzgerald TD, also confirmed that 50% of the programmes funding to be supplied by The Atlantic Philanthropies, bringing total funding to nearly €30m.

The ABC programme targets additional investment in evidence-based early interventions to improve the long-term outcomes for children and families living in areas of disadvantage.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore TD who is co-sponsoring the initiative said: "I am extremely pleased with the progress to date on the ABC Programme. This is an initiative that is already making a real and positive difference to the lives of children and their families in disadvantaged areas. I look forward to the outcome of the design phase, which will see this programme extended from the existing three sites, to up to thirteen areas, not just the ten we committed to do in the Programme for Government.

"The Government is deeply grateful to Atlantic Philanthropies who, as co-funders, have worked closely with us to ensure that additional areas of disadvantage will be able to benefit from inclusion in this important initiative.”

Minster Fitzgerald stated: "I am delighted that, following a very competitive process, nine further proposals have emerged which have the potential to enter the programme, joining the three sites already approved. It would not be possible for us to consider bringing this many areas into the programme were it not for the generosity of The Atlantic Philanthropies, who are matching the €14.85m the Government have made available to the programme.

"The Programme for Government announced that "up to ten” areas would eventually be approved for entry into such a programme. In fact, it is hoped that 13 areas will now benefit in total and I believe it is a testament to our commitment as a country to our children. These programmes have been shown - both at home and abroad - to succeed in substantially improving the life-long outcomes of children in less advantaged communities, and represent a sound, and very cost-effective investment in our nation’s future.”

"I also look forward to the lessons that will be learnt in rolling out these interventions in the context of this programme, and the impact this will have on mainstream service provision in our schools, health services and the Child and Family Agency which is being established in January.”

(MH/CD)

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