Leading community change: delivering better outcomes in an Irish community. Childhood Development Initiative final process evaluation report
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Canavan, J., Coen, L., Ozan, J. and Curtin, C. (2014) Leading Community Change: Delivering Better Outcomes in an Irish Community. Childhood Development Initiative Final Process Evaluation Report. Dublin: Childhood Development Initiative.
In 2003, individuals from a number of organisations in Tallaght West came together with local residents with the shared desire of improving outcomes for children and young people in the area. This group’s consultation, discussion, research and planning ultimately gave rise to the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) in 2005 and its 10-year strategy, entitled A Place for Children: Tallaght West (CDI, 2005a). This strategy proposed the development and implementation of new programmes and services for children to address their overall education, health and behaviour, alongside the cultivation of a culture of quality among service professionals in the area. The strategy envisaged all CDI’s activities being led by the local community and evaluated to a high standard. CDI was established as a limited company with charitable status in 2007, with a number of vision statements and principles to guide its work. The vision statements are that: • CDI, in partnership with the community, will promote needs-based services using an evidence-based approach. • CDI will establish and build on what works. • CDI will recognise and value the contribution made by, and the commitment of, those living and working in the community. • CDI will support the children and families of Tallaght West by promoting and enhancing quality, innovative services. • CDI will encourage collaboration and shared learning among all stakeholders; raise awareness of roles and responsibilities; share information; challenge how we work and find solutions together in order to deliver services that are more effective and influence policy. In line with its strategy and principles, CDI developed a number of specific programmes in 2007 and 2008. These were: • An Early Years Service; • Doodle Den, an after-school literacy programme targeted at children aged 5-6 years; • Mate-Tricks, an after-school pro-social behaviour programme targeted at children aged 9-10 years; • The Healthy Schools Programme, a whole-of-school approach to improving health outcomes of populations of selected local schools; • The Community Safety Initiative, a programme to improve people’s perceptions of safety, improve neighbour relations and promote a safe and healthy environment for the local population. This programme includes the Safe and Healthy Place, an interagency response to concerns within a new housing estate. CDI also developed the Quality Enhancement Programme to progress its commitment to improving quality and impacting on the support and training needs of practitioners and managers. In 2010, it established the Restorative Practice training programme, aimed at developing community capacity to repair and build relationships, and manage and overcome conflict. It also extracted elements of the Speech and Language Therapy Programme of the Early Years and Healthy Schools programmes to deliver as a standalone service.