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In addition to our internal programme of research and evaluation, Barnardos commissions independent research studies in order to develop our understanding of the needs and circumstances of children and their families in Ireland, particularly those children and their families whose wellbeing is under threat.
Partnership with Parents™ (PwP) is an intensive, home-based, one-to-one parenting support programme for parents with multiple and complex needs, developed by Barnardos Ireland. Following the design and piloting of the programme, PwP was implemented across Barnardos services, leading to a formal evaluation of the programme. A mixed method cohort evaluation of PwP took place over a two-year period, from September 2016 to September 2018, with data spanning a six-year period (2012–2018).
The Final Report and Executive Summary shows that PwP is a very promising intervention with evidence of positive outcomes for the parents and children. The evidence demonstrates how the unique design and implementation of PwP works well within the complex, real world, everyday lives of parents. Furthermore, the programme works well across a wide range of presenting needs, and the design allows flexibility to navigate changing or evolving needs over time.
The TLC Kidz programme is a group programme for children and mothers recovering from domestic abuse. It has been delivered on an interagency basis in North Tipperary since 2005 and more recently in South Tipperary, Waterford and Carlow. An external evaluation was undertaken in 2017 and 2018 to investigate the outcomes and experiences of families and professionals in attending/delivering the programme. The evaluation of TLC Kidz evidenced a range of positive outcomes for participants.
The Homemaker Family Support Service is an early intervention, home-based family support service across Limerick city and environs. The service works with parents of children aged eight years and under in a practical way to support them in their parenting capacity and with household routines. A small-scale internal evaluation was undertaken in 2017. As evidenced in the Executive Summary, the research demonstrates the effectiveness of the early intervention support service in improving family trajectory and self-efficacy across a range of domains.
Tús Maith is a one-to-two year, centre-based early years care and education programme operating in eight early years centres, with a particular focus on children aged three-to-five years from disadvantaged groups and those living in challenging family circumstances. Its overall aim is that the child will be ready for primary school and will develop the specific cognitive skills necessary for this transition. A rigorous evaluation of Tús Maith programme was undertaken by the Centre for Social and Educational Research (CSER), in collaboration with the UCD Geary Institute from 2011 to 2013. The ultimate aim of the evaluation was to assess the effectiveness of the Tús Maith programme in terms of delivery and sustainability and its impact on young children. As evidenced in the Executive Summary, the study demonstrated that children who participated in the Tús Maith programme achieved positive outcomes across a range of key domains, such as social, language and cognitive development.
Wizards of Words (WoW) is a paired literacy improvement programme for children in first and second class in primary school, involving older volunteers. This intergenerational programme model is based on US research of the Experience Corps programme which has demonstrated positive outcomes for children’s reading ability and for the volunteers as well. The programme delivers one-to-one tuition during school time and is hosted in the school premises.
The evaluation of WoW was carried out by the Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) at NUI Galway between 2008 and 2012. The study design combined a randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluation of programme impact, and an evaluation of programme implementation. The Final Report and Executive Summary evidence the ways in which WoW participants made gains across a range of domains.
This evaluation of Barnardos Bereavement Counselling Service for children aimed to gain an understanding of the nature and role of counselling for children who are bereaved. Specific objectives of the study included exploring the children’s experiences of bereavement while engaging with bereavement counselling; identifying any changes in self-reported psychosocial wellbeing and coping evident during the course of engagement with bereavement counselling; and exploring the wider family context of this experience though children’s and parents’ reports. The Executive Summary presents an overview of the literature on children’s responses to bereavement, the methods used in the evaluation study, the main findings and recommendations for the development of the counselling service.
Friendship Group is about giving children a place to develop and practise the skills they need to form healthy friendships. This proven programme was designed in the United States and is rooted in a strong understanding of children’s development. The Friendship Group is for children ages six-to-nine years. Each group is made up of six children and two staff who meet every week for two hours over a period of 22 weeks. An evaluation of the programme found that the experience of running the Friendship Group during 2008-2009 was a very positive experience for Barnardos’ participating children and their parents, and staff. Further detail is provided in the Executive Summary.
A study of needs and their determinants was commissioned by Barnardos in 2007. The purpose of the needs analysis was to explore the range of needs experienced by children living in Limerick city, children receiving Barnardos’ services in Limerick city and children receiving Barnardos' services in Thurles. The external study was undertaken by Kieran McKeown and Trutz Haase, and findings are evidenced in the Executive Summary.
The Family Welfare Conference model, which is a planning and decision making forum that places the family group at the centre of the deliberations about family welfare issues, has been operated by Barnardos in Wexford since 2003. The Executive Summary provides an overview of the methodologies, findings and recommendations from this 2006 evaluation of the FWC service.
In 2004 the Barnardos Cherry Orchard Family Support Project commenced the Da Project, which aimed to increase the level of participation of fathers in the family support project and in their children's lives. The Evaluation Report presents an overview of the methodologies, findings and recommendations arising from a 2006 evaluation process.