The Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) process evaluation Thematic Report No. 6: mainstreaming, dissemination and sustainability
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Canavan, J., Coen, L., Ozan, J. and Curtin, C. (2014) Mainstreaming, Dissemination and Sustainability. Dublin: Childhood Development Initiative.
BACKGROUND In 2008 the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) was contracted by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) to undertake a process evaluation of its work. The evaluation consists of a series of six thematic-focussed reports and an overall final report. This report is the sixth in the series. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES The aim of the evaluation was to examine the role of sustainability, mainstreaming, and dissemination in the work of CDI. Following consultation with CDI, the main questions that informed the research for this report were agreed as follows: 1. What has been the strategy regarding informing Government thinking, policy making, and specifically curriculum development? 2. How aware is the Irish Government of CDI learning emanating from the interim evaluation reports, final evaluation reports, and the overall experience of CDI as it was being implemented? 3. What did CDI do to ensure learning was heard at policy level in the period before the finalisation of service evaluation reports, and in the absence of outcome data or interim process findings? 4. What has CDI done in the period since the finalisation of these reports? 5. What has CDI done to promote the mainstreaming of its experience? 6. What plans have been put in place to ensure sustainability [in the short and long term]? METHODS AND LIMITATIONS The report adopted a multi-method qualitative approach. The following methods were used: • Literature review examining relevant material on the use of research in policy, terminology, models of policyresearch interaction, mechanisms to disseminate research evidence, and challenges encountered in undertaking such work; • Extensive documentary analysis of a range of CDI documents, including strategic planning documents, newsletters, and minutes of pertinent CDI structures, including the Board, communications subcommittee and the Implementation Support Group (ISG); • 31 individual and group interviews with a range of key informants, including CDI team members, Board members, ISG members, as well external individuals, were undertaken at two different time points. The main limitation in this report is the absence of particular voices in the qualitative data. Despite numerous attempts by the research team, representatives from the Department of Education and Skills declined to participate in the research. These included one official from the Early Years Unit, and three current officials and one former official from the Social Inclusion Unit. In addition, a senior official from the Department of Health, a senior official from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and one philanthropic representative declined to participate in the research.