27/02/2020

AIM Project Wins Prestigious Global Award

Ireland's Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) project, which has supported over 12,100 children in over 3,300 services nationally, has won a global award for innovative policy at this year's Zero Project Awards.

The award is in recognition of the programme's significant contribution to the inclusion of children with disabilities.

The Zero Project focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. AIM was one of 11 innovative policies selected from 465 policy submissions from around the globe.

AIM supports children with disabilities to access and fully participate in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) universal free pre-school programme. The programme of supports responds to the needs of the child and to the needs of the pre-school setting the child is participating in. AIM was launched in June 2016, with the first supports rolled out in time for the 2016/2017 pre-school year.

Since the launch of the scheme, over 12,100 children in over 3,300 services nationally have benefited directly from targeted supports. In addition, tens of thousands more children have benefited from the universal supports and inclusive culture that AIM has helped to foster within preschool services. In an independent review carried out in the second year of AIM's operation, 78% of parents reported their child had benefited, and 76% of services said that AIM had made the culture at their preschool more inclusive.

AIM is a multi-agency initiative led by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and its innovation and success owes much to the active collaboration of many partner organisations. It brings together the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Health, and Education and Skills, along with Pobal, Childcare Committees Ireland, Early Childhood Ireland, the HSE, the NCSE, the NDA, Tusla and other agencies.

(MH/CM)

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