nurture logo

KHF progressed discussions with The Atlantic Philanthropies during 2014 about the development of a new Infant Health and Wellbeing Programme that would complement the Foundation’s Parenting Support Initiative and also provide for an even greater focus on meeting needs of children and their families during pregnancy and up to the child’s third birthday. A proposal for the Programme was developed with key stakeholders and was approved by Atlantic Philanthropies in December 2014.

The Programme completes a long-term cycle of investment by The Atlantic Philanthropies (Atlantic) with the goal of creating evidence-based policy, services and practices in Ireland. It aligns with Atlantic’s strategic commitment to ensure that its final grants deliver impact at the level of long-term, sustainable systemic change that makes a real difference to the lives of children and their families.

The focus of the new Programme, which is called the Nurture Programme - Infant Health and Wellbeing, is primarily on working with the HSE in the development of an integrated approach to service planning and delivery to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for infants and their families. The development and implementation of the Programme will form a central part of the Foundation’s work over the coming years.Father & baby image

One of the most significant findings from national and international research is that the first two years are the most critical time in a child’s development and what happens in this developmental phase can influence the trajectory of a child’s life positively or negatively. Furthermore, early intervention and prevention can offer significant benefits in terms of delivering best outcomes for children. There is also recognition of the importance of focusing on how prevention and early intervention practice is integrated and mainstreamed into child and family services.

The Nurture Programme - Infant Health and Wellbeing is focused on an integrated programme of work, primarily within the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) Health and Wellbeing and Primary Care Directorates to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for infants and their families.  The Programme is managed by the Katharine Howard Foundation and aims to support the strategic reform of universal health and wellbeing services for infants and their families.

aim of Nurture prog image

The Programme has four key components:

  • public information and education
  • human capital development
  • the development and implementation of tools and resources and
  • the development and implementation of an integrated service delivery model.

These components are reflected throughout the four work strands: Nurture rolling photo 2

  • system development
  • ready for baby
  • ready for toddle and
  • ready for the work.

The first core activity was the scoping of current services, structures, training, policy, and evidence of what works in order to identify strengths, gaps and needs and leading to the development of a detailed implementation plan and key deliverables.

The Atlantic Philanthropies is supporting the Programme through a grant to The Katharine Howard Foundation (KHF) and the work programme will be delivered by the HSE with technical and implementation support from the Centre for Effective Services (CES).

KHF will commission an external, independent process evaluation to assess how the Programme was implemented overall, the implementation support that was provided and the extent to which the Programme impacted on systems change. The learning from the Programme will be disseminated widely with the aim of influencing policy and practice.

To ensure the long term sustainability of the Nurture Programme, an Infant Development Fund has been established through matched funding from the Community Foundation for Ireland (CFI) which will continue to support innovation in service design and implementation for this age cohort, especially as the findings from new research become available.

Click here for information on the Programme Launch 

The contact person in the Katharine Howard Foundation for The Nurture Programme – Infant Health and Wellbeing is: Francis Chance, Programme Manager

23-05-2016 - NEWS - Images from THE LAUNCH OF THE NURTURE PROGRAMME - INFANT HEALTH & WELLBEING. Picture Nick Bradshaw

7 Red Cow Lane
Dublin D07 XN29

Phone: 01 6618963
Mobile: 086 6068753
E mail: