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Research & Evaluation Studies

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.


Barnardos Research Projects

An evaluation of the Barnardos Ballybeg Playground service was conducted to explore the experiences and impact of the service on the children, families, and the local community of Ballybeg, Waterford. A case study evaluation was conducted using qualitative methods, involving detailed interviews with children attending the service, their parents, staff and volunteers, as well as the gathering of fieldnotes.

Read more about the evaluation here:

The Childhood Domestic Violence and Abuse (CDVA) Project aims to assist in increasing the visibility of childhood domestic abuse; supporting a collective and collaborative approach to identifying the needs of children; and delivering effective services in response. This project is hosted by Barnardos, and funded by the National Tusla Domestic Sexual and Gender Based Violence team. The CDVA was independently evaluated by researchers at Trinity College Dublin in 2021 in order to review the project in terms of its overall aims and to inform the future development of the project.

A process evaluation utilising a mixed-methods analytic framework was conducted, incorporating the views of those involved in the implementation of the project, key stakeholders and participating members. The findings indicated a number of project successes and scope for development. The findings informed a number of key recommendations, including the importance of keeping the work child-centred, boosting visibility of the issue of childhood domestic violence through education and knowledge sharing, and supporting the expansion of the project through clarity of purpose and goals, and ongoing purposeful collaboration.

Read more about the evaluation here:


Post Adoption Service Evaluation Queens University Belfast 2021

Barnardos Post-Adoption Service (PAS) was designed to help parents to meet the needs of their adopted children and teenagers, many of whom have experienced significant early trauma. It has operated at a National level since 2019, with centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway providing services to families of children adopted through both inter-country and domestic adoption. It aims to provide therapeutic support and tailored interventions in order to enhance the wellbeing of adoptees, improve parent-child relationships and communication, and widen parenting capacity with regard to adoption specific issues (birth-parent contact, sharing background information, understanding the needs of adopted children). The service is trauma-informed, attachment focussed, and adoption specific.

Barnardos commissioned Queens University Belfast to carry out an evaluation of the PAS in order to extend and deepen our understanding of the value of the PAS model of work with participating children and parents, and to inform ongoing service development. This evaluation sought the perspectives of a range of stakeholders and service users: adoptive parents, adopted young people, professionals in the field of adoption, and the PAS staff team.

The findings of the evaluation indicated an overwhelmingly positive experience of the service amongst adoptive parents, adopted children and young people, and professionals. In particular, families benefit from on-going engagement with a highly knowledgeable and skilled staff, and the opportunity to engage with supports tailored to the needs of adoptees and their families. 

Download full report here 

Download Executive summary here


Barnardos Youghal Community Family Support was established in October 2017, jointly funded in a partnership between Barnardos, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and Tomar Trust. The aim of this evaluation was to assess the performance of Youghal Community Family Support service two years on from its establishment in 2017. Youghal urban area is home to 7,075 people, 5,276 adults and 1,799 children (Health Atlas, 2020), and a socio-demographic profile of the town shows that significant populations within the town experience varying degrees of disadvantage. Barnardos in Youghal aims to provide support to children and families in Youghal, in order to have a positive impact on children’s’ social-emotional wellbeing, educational outcomes and overall family functioning.

Overall, the quantitative and qualitative findings point to a service that is valued by both referrers and participants in the various programmes of work. While increased resources, such as additional staff or a dedicated space for Barnardos services, could lead to potential improvements, the current level of support has provided a much-needed service, showing positive impacts for children and families in the Youghal community.

Download the report here 


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 Glór na nÓg pilot sought to include the voices of children and young people in relation to Barnardos 2019 Budget Submission to the Irish Government.

This pilot study was intended to inform the basis of a policy document on child advocacy within Barnardos as well as allowing the organisation to begin a process of embedding children and young people’s voices in its advocacy work.

For the purposes of the Monitoring and Evaluation of the pilot the key objectives were as follows:

Process Monitoring:

  • To establish a method of monitoring the process of the pilot workshops and so enable all participants to have input into iterative change during the workshops

Output Evaluation:

  • To develop a method of quantitative feedback allowing the child participants to have a say in how the workshops are run going forward
  • To gather meaningful qualitative data from the all participants – the children, advocacy team and project workers – enabling the development of a basis for embedded child advocacy policy.

Evaluation of the TLC Kidz Programme for Children and Mothers Recovering from Domestic Abuse (2018)

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.

Evaluation of the Limerick City Homemaker Family Support Service – 2017

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.

Evaluation of the National Early Years Service (Tús Maith) – 2014

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.

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Barnardos’ Wizards of Words Reading Programme – 2013

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.

Evaluation of the Barnardos Bereavement Counselling Service for Children – 2011

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.   

Process Evaluation of Friendship Group – 2009

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.

Understanding the Needs of Children: A Study of Needs and Their Determinants in Limerick & Thurles – 2007

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.

Evaluation of the Family Welfare Conference, Wexford – 2006

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.

Evaluation of the Da Project, Cherry Orchard, Dublin – 2004

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.

For any queries please get in touch with the Research and Policy Department, at [email protected]

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