United States Department of Health & Human Services has officially recognised Preparing for Life's Home Visiting programme by including it in the “Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness” (HomVEE) list. Preparing for Life (PFL), a Northside Partnership initiative, is a prevention and early intervention program serving families living in Darndale, Dublin 17. Following an exacting review process, the US government has now decided that PFL meets the high standards for programmes serving children and families and is has been proven to have a significant, long lasting positive outcomes for children.
Studies by UCD’s Geary Institute of Preparing for Life’s impact met criteria established by the U.S. DHSS in a recent review. The programme has been the subject of ongoing research by a team led by Professor Orla Doyle for the past 14 years.
"Within the home visiting field, being recognised as a model of effectiveness by HomVEE is like winning the World Cup," according to Professor Doyle. "It acknowledges all the work that the PFL implementation team have invested in the programme since its inception, as well as the high quality research that underlies it. Being included in the HomVEE list will increase awareness and hopefully adoption of PFL internationally".
The model serves families and children from pregnancy to school entry, and it aims to support parents to nurture their children so the child, the family and the community can thrive. The programme is delivered through regular Home Visits, along with wrap around supports including antenatal education, breastfeeding support and group sessions for parents.
The HomVEE review focused on the home visiting component of the model, which is available for families beginning in pregnancy and continues until the child enters school. During regular visits, highly trained Home Visitors share information about child development and engage families through role-playing, modelling, demonstration, coaching, discussion, and encouragement.
“We are really pleased to be recognized by HomVEE,” Niall Sexton, Programme Manager of PFL, commented. “The team has worked tirelessly to deliver the best programme possible for the people of Darndale and we are delighted to have that work validated. The work that Prof Doyle and her team in UCD has done has evidenced the effectiveness of what we do. To be a programme listed by HomVEE further proves this.
"It is also a recognition of the wonderful parents and children in Darndale who have been part of the study for 14 years. It is truly an honour to be part of their lives and to be able to share in their parenting journey”
HomVEE identified the Preparing for Life programme domains with favourable effects as: Child Development and School Readiness; Child Health; Maternal Health; and Positive Parenting Practices.
Validation of the effectiveness of the Preparing for Life programme makes it the only Irish model to be eligible to be selected for Federal and State funding in the United States. PFL has already started working in the US. In 2022, the University of Chicago’s Centre for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD) partnered with PFL to deliver the programme in a predominately Spanish speaking community in Southside Chicago.
PFL is also supporting expansion of the programme in Ireland and eight organisations in Ireland currently offer PFL Home Visiting in their communities as addition to Darndale. They include Finglas and Balbriggan in Dublin; Bray, Co. Wicklow; Athy and Newbridge, Co. Kildare; Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Castlebar, Co. Mayo and Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow.
“Home Visiting is a core element of the Government’s policy for supporting babies and children and this announcement is further validation of the long term impact and effectiveness of Home Visiting and Early Intervention” stated Sexton.
Further information on HomVEE: Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness Review: Summary (hhs.gov)