The Child and Family Research Centre (Reports)

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  • Publication
    Building children's futures: Using children's rights to recover from the global pandemic: The children's report
    (Children's Rights Alliance, 2024-02-28) Daniels, Natasha; Kennan, Danielle
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    Youth mentoring as a supportive resource for young people involved with CAMHS: An exploratory study
    (Foroige and UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre, 2022) Silke, Charlotte; Brady, Bernadine; Health Research Board
    Adolescence is an important developmental stage in which lasting patterns of health and wellbeing are established (Sawyer et al., 2012). Due to the social, mental and physical changes that occur during this transitional period, adolescence is regarded as a time of increased sensitivity and vulnerability, with research suggesting that mental health issues surge during the adolescent period (Schwarz, 2009; Malla et al., 2018). Epidemiological evidence from both national and international research suggests that adolescent mental health and wellbeing has deteriorated significantly over the last two decades (Cosma et al., 2020; Centre for Disease Control, 2020). There is widespread concern that this decline in youth wellbeing has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic (Fegert et al., 2020). Mental health problems can have a severe impact on the social and emotional development of the young person, are linked to poorer long-term health, and are also a major risk factor for suicidal behaviour (Collishaw & Sellers, 2020; Patel et al., 2018). Public health professionals and policy makers have identified the need to respond to this decline in youth mental health as a public health priority (Collishaw & Sellers, 2020). In Ireland, youth mental health is widely recognised as an area in need of increased policy focus, with Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014–2020, acknowledging the importance of integrated policy solutions to promote youth mental health and wellbeing. In recent years, it has been increasingly recognised that while clinical interventions are important and necessary, young people with mental health needs may also benefit from community intervention and support (Hart et al., 2021). Young people experiencing mental health issues may become isolated from their peers and community and may have few opportunities to interact socially with others or may find these interactions challenging. It is argued that community and social networks have the potential to enrich the lives of young people experiencing mental health issues and provide multiple layers of support to help address problems or difficulties. In the context of youth mental health, community services have been found to aid recovery and promote wellbeing (De Wit et al., 2016; Jorm, 2012) and may help to relieve the pressure on primary and secondary care services (Chatterjee et al., 2017). Youth mentoring is a community-based intervention which can help extend the reach of psychological support for young people and is a potentially powerful tool for the prevention of and intervention in youth mental ill-health (Cavell et al., 2021; DuBois et al., 2018a; Hart et al., 2021; Munson & Railey, 2016). Youth-mentoring programmes create a ‘match’ or relationship between a young person and a volunteer mentor and they meet weekly for a year or more. The youth-mentoring model recognises that many young people benefit from support and friendship from a caring adult outside of their family and peer group (Dolan and Brady, 2012). Research has indicated that youth who participate in mentoring programmes, such as Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS), show improved social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural outcomes (Goldner & Ben-Eliyahu, 2021). The national youth organisation Foróige has been operating the BBBS youth-mentoring programme in Ireland since 2002. A Randomised Control Trial (RCT) evaluation of the programme in Ireland found evidence of enhanced emotional wellbeing and perceived support among young people participating in the programme (Dolan et al., 2011). In Ireland, the Health Service Executive (HSE) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is responsible for the provision of youth mental health services. In 2018, CAMHS entered a partnership with Foróige’s Big Brother Big Sister programme with the aim of facilitating access to youth-mentoring relationships as an additional support for young people attending or exiting CAMHS. It was envisaged that the mentoring relationships would help young people to build and develop protective factors, such as emotional resilience, self-esteem, positive social networks and community engagement, while also building capacity to address risk factors, such as bullying (Foróige, 2018). The partnership arose in the context of the HSE National Service Plan (2018), which aimed to improve access for young people to appropriate locally based early intervention and prevention services. The purpose of this study is to examine the working partnership between CAMHS and the Foróige BBBS mentoring programme and explore the value of youth mentoring from the perspective of multiple stakeholders, including youth, parents/ guardians, BBBS mentors, BBBS staff and CAMHS staff. As part of the study, 40 participants (10 mentors, 10 youth, 10 parents/guardians, 10 staff) took part in semi structured qualitative interviews exploring their experiences and opinions of the BBBS mentoring programme. Results indicated that young people typically developed trusting, empathic friendships with their mentors, with participants identifying several factors which they believed influenced the strength of the mentoring bond which developed. Participants typically regarded the BBBS programme as a beneficial resource for young people and their families, with programme participation frequently linked to positive social–emotional, identity and cognitive development. While certain programme features, such as the provision of support from a non-familial adult, were frequently commended by participants, participants also made recommendations for how the BBBS programme and/or its relationship with CAMHS could be enhanced. Overall, the findings from this report provide unique insights into the utility of youth mentoring as an additional supportive resource for young people involved with mental health services, and have notable implications for research and practice.
  • Publication
    Language, terminology and representation relating to Ireland's institutions historically known as `Mother and Baby Homes', `County Homes' and related institutions: Summary report
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, University of Galway, 2023) Mc Gregor, Caroline; Devaney, Carmel; Buckley, Sarah-Anne
    [No abstrract available]
  • Publication
    Language, terminology and representation relating to Ireland's institutions historically known as `Mother and Baby Homes', `County Homes' and related institutions
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, University of Galway, 2023) Mc Gregor, Caroline; Devaney, Carmel; Buckley, Sarah-Anne
    This report is based on a research study commissioned as a direct response to recommendations made in the First Report of the Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes and related Institutions (hereafter the Collaborative Forum Report) and has also formed part of the Government¿s response to the Final Report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation. It relates specifically to the Collaborative Forum recommendations regarding Terminology and (Mis)representation. This project provides guidance for stakeholders, including the media, social workers, government, academia, education, religious orders, and others engaged with people directly affected by this history on language and terminology that is not appropriate or that should be addressed in a sensitive, collaborative and conscious manner.
  • Publication
    An analysis of Significant Event Notifications to inform Tusla's alternative care policy and practice developments
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland Galway, 2019-06) Rodriguez, Leonor; Devaney, Carmel
    This report comprises an analysis of Significant Event Notifications to inform alternative care policy and practice.
  • Publication
    A framework for child and family support in Europe: Building comprehensive support systems
    (European Family Support Network (EurofamNet), 2022-10) Devaney, Carmel; Churchill, Harriet; Abela, Angela; Jackson, Rebecca; European Cooperation in Science and Technology
    This policy briefing argues that the development and sustainability of family support policies and provisions are priority issues for European countries. As European countries navigate major challenges in current times such as widening social inequalities, the COVID-19 pandemic and its recovery, and the impact of the war in Ukraine on the European economy, the improvement of social support provisions, services and systems for children, parents and families is more urgent and important than ever.
  • Publication
    The conceptualisation and delivery of family support in Europe: A review of academic literature
    (European Family Support Network (EurofamNet), 2021-10) Devaney, Carmel; Christiansen, Øivin; Holzer, Julia; MacDonald, Mandi; Matias, Marisa; Piessens, An; Salamon, Eszter; Kealy, Carmen; Horizon 2020
    Even though children are active agents in their own right they remain a vulnerable group dependent on adults to protect, support, nourish and educate them. In certain circumstances and for a myriad of reasons, some families’ capacity to provide for and care for their children can be reduced or compromised, and as a result they require support and assistance in carrying out this fundamental function. Family Support is one way in which children’s well-being can be protected and promoted. However, the way in which this mode of support is conceptualised and operationalised can vary within and across jurisdictions. For instance, family support approaches can be framed by concerns about care or control, can take a child-based or parent-oriented perspective, and may be targeted or universal in terms in eligibility. This report is part of a wider programme of work which aims to provide an innovative conceptual framework relevant to the delivery of family support in Europe. In order to provide insight to this project, this document presents a review of recent academic literature which considers the ways in which formal family support is conceptualised, developed and delivered in the European context. This includes literature from member states of the European Union, and adjacent countries from the continent that have special relationships with the Union. Much of the literature in this review stems from the UK, but it also comes from Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, France and Italy, as well as Cyprus and Croatia.
  • Publication
    School leaders and teachers’ perspectives on teaching and learning during Covid-19 (Project Brief 4), Crisis Coping-Marginalised young people’s living and learning experiences during Covid-19 in Ireland Project Brief Series
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and School of Education, NUI Galway., 2022) Kealy, Carmen; Murray, Clíona; Flynn, Paul; Dolan, Pat; Flynn, Niamh; Forkan, Cormac; Furey, Eamonn; Keane, Elaine; MacRuairc, Gerry
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    Providing catch-up supports to young people as they transition back to in-person education (Policy Brief 5). Crisis Coping: Marginalised Young People’s Living and Learning Experiences during COVID-19 in Ireland Project Brief Series
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and School of Education, NUI Galway, 2022) Flynn, Niamh; Keane, Elaine; Furey, Eamonn; Kealy, Carmen; Dolan, Pat; Flynn, Paul; Forkan, Cormac; MacRuairc, Gerry; Murray, Clíona
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    A review of international experiences in relation to the implementation of a statutory duty for interagency collaboration to ensure the protection and welfare of children
    (NUI Galway, 2021-08) Devaney, Carmel; Kealy, Carmen; Canavan, John; McGregor, Caroline
    Effective interagency co-ordination and collaboration between agencies has become a key consideration in providing services to children and families. The benefits of interagency and interdisciplinary cooperation are argued to be far reaching and ensure a comprehensive response to concerns about children and young people. This report, which was commissioned by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) derived from a multi-method study which: ¿ identified key lessons from experiences in other jurisdictions of a statutory duty for interagency co-ordination and collaboration, and ¿ considered context and drivers for reform, processes for implementation and changes in policy, as well as operational structures and models.
  • Publication
    'Parents’ perspectives on their children’s living and learning during COVID-19 (Project Brief 3)’, Crisis Coping-Marginalised young people’s living and learning experiences during COVID-19 in Ireland
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and School of Education, NUI Galway, 2022) Kealy, Carmen; Murray, Cliona; Flynn, Paul; Dolan, Pat; Flynn, Niamh; Forkan, Cormac; Furey, Eamonn; Keane, Elaine; Mac Ruairc, Gerry
    [no abstract available]
  • Publication
    ‘The coping of young people in the school reopening phase of COVID-19 (Project Brief 2)’, Crisis Coping-Marginalised young people’s living and learning experiences during COVID-19 in Ireland
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and School of Education, NUI Galway., 2022) Murray, Cliona; Kealy, Carmen; Flynn, Niamh; Forkan, Cormac; Dolan, Pat; Flynn, Paul; Furey, Eamonn; Keane, Elaine; Mac Ruairc, Gerry
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    ‘The Impact of COVID19 on young people (Project Brief 1)’, Crisis Coping-Marginalised young people’s living and learning experiences during COVID-19 in Ireland
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and School of Education, NUI Galway., 2022) Keane, Elaine; Kealy, Carmen; Dolan, Pat; Flynn, Paul; Flynn, Niamh; Forkan, Cormac; Furey, Eamonn; Mac Ruairc, Gerry; Murray, Cliona
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    Conceptualising participation in practice in YAP Ireland: A case study
    (UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, 2021) Jackson, Rebecca; Devaney, Carmel; Brady, Bernadine
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    A study of Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s actions and decision-making process following An Garda Síochána’s application of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991: Executive Summary
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, 2020-03) Devaney, Carmel; Crosse, Rosemary; Rodriguez, Leonor; Silke, Charlotte
    In 2017, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs requested Tusla Child and Family Agency, to commission new research into the number of children who have been subject to a Section 12 and reflect the demographic profile by age and location. The main objectives of the research were: To identify the pathways for children who have been subject to Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 To explore the rationale and decision-making process of social workers in the aftermath of Section 12 To describe the characteristics of communications between Tusla and An Garda Síochána in relation to Section 12 notifications and follow-ups from the perspective of Tusla social work and Tusla management To ascertain the role of the Out-of-Hours Service in Tusla s response to Section 12 To examine and determine the circumstances relating to children being removed more than once.
  • Publication
    A study of Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s actions and decision-making process following An Garda Síochána’s application of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland Galway, 2020-03) Devaney, Carmel; Crosse, Rosemary; Rodriguez, Leonor; Silke, Charlotte
    The research commission request arose after the publication of Audit of the exercise by An Garda Síochána of the provisions of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 prepared by Dr Geoffrey Shannon for the Garda Commissioner in 2017. The Shannon Report did not audit Tusla s actions after invoking Section 12, however, a number of the recommendations within the Shannon Report related to Tusla policies and procedures in relation to Section 12 and Section 13 of the Child Care Act 1991. The main objectives of the research were: To identify the pathways for children who have been subject to Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 To explore the rationale and decision-making process of social workers in the aftermath of Section 12 To describe the characteristics of communications between Tusla and An Garda Síochána in relation to Section 12 notifications and follow-ups from the perspective of Tusla social work and Tusla management To ascertain the role of the Out-of-Hours Service in Tusla s response to Section 12 To examine and determine the circumstances relating to children being removed more than once.
  • Publication
    Identifying innovative models for supporting vulnerable learners achieve educational progression: Early findings from an evaluation of Social Innovation Fund Ireland's Education Fund
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, 2019-06) Kovačič, Tanja; Forkan, Cormac; Dolan, Pat; Canavan, John; Furey, Eamonn; Shaw, Aileen; Dolan, Brendan
    This document is the first of three reports (2019, 2020, and 2021) from a major study being conducted by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC), NUI Galway, on Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund. Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) was established by the government in 2015 to stimulate philanthropy and fill a gap in funding innovation for the non-profit sector. Its mission is to provide growth capital and supports to the best social innovations in Ireland, enabling them to scale and maximise their impact. Recognising the persistence of educational inequality and disadvantage in Irish society, SIFI introduced the Education Fund in late 2017 as a way to confront this extremely complex issue. The Fund was open to projects focused on improving educational outcomes for those experiencing educational disadvantage, and which specifically supported learners to progress from levels 3–6 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Following a rigorous selection process, 10 projects were chosen as recipients of the Award (see Table 1.1 below). Eight are based in Dublin and two in Cork. Each offers a form of alternative education when compared to the mainstream system.
  • Publication
    Exploring ethnic data collection for the Child and Family Agency
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, 2019-01) Rooney, Clíona; Canavan, John
    This research aims to assist Tusla - Child and Family Agency in identifying current legislative, policy contexts and obligations to develop an ethically appropriate, legal ethnic data collection system that adheres to a human rights framework. The project consists of three main objectives: a) Identify the legislative and policy context within which Tusla can develop an ethnic data collection system. b) To establish best practice guidelines for Tusla in ethnic data collection methods and systems. c) To ensure that Tusla s information systems (IS) can apply best practice to inform service improvement.
  • Publication
    A review on the availability and comparability of statistics on child protection and welfare, including children in care, collated by Tusla: Child and Family Agency with statistics published in other jurisdictions
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, 2019-03) Furey, Eamonn; Canavan, John
    Tusla commissioned this research study in order to establish how Ireland compares to other jurisdictions, in relation to the collection and publication of data on child protection and welfare services. Its focus has been on what data is collected in other jurisdictions, how it is collated and whether it is comparable. As well as generating substantive data for comparison, the study has involved attention to information on definitions, procedures and legislation/policy. It has also required engaging with extant knowledge on comparing child protection and welfare systems and on comparing data about these systems. It is primarily a desk based study, but has involved some contact with national experts in the field.
  • Publication
    The strengths and challenges of the YAP community based advocate model: Research study key findings
    (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland Galway, 2020) Brady, Bernadine; Devaney, Carmel; Crosse, Rosemary; Rodriguez, Leonor; Silke, Charlotte
    This research study examines the unique aspects of the YAP Ireland programme – namely the use of community-based Advocates to improve the lives of young people and their families. The strengths and challenges associated with the Community-Based Advocate Model are explored from the perspectives of key stakeholders, including young people, their parents or guardians, staff, and referrers.