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Early Childhood Research

Early Childhood Research: The Preparing for Life Legacy Study

Preparing for Life (PFL) is a community-led initiative operated by the Northside Partnership in Dublin which was initially evaluated over an 8-year period (2008-2016) by the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy under the direction of Dr. Orla Doyle. PFL is now the longest running experimental intervention programme in Europe and has resulted in over 25 academic articles and multiple policy reports. The PFL team at Geary have now embarked on a ‘legacy’ study to determine if the impact of the programme persists into later childhood and adolescence. The programme aims to improve children’s development by providing intensive parenting support via a home visiting programme and group-based parent training from pregnancy until age five. The original trial demonstrated that the programme was effective in improving the children’s birth outcomes (Doyle et al 2014), health (Doyle et al 2015), behaviour (Doyle et al 2016) and cognitive skills at age 5 (Doyle 2020), as well as having a medium-term impact on school test scores at age 9 (Doyle 2022). In 2023, the team will go back into the field to assess the impact of the programme at age 13. This work demonstrates the importance of investing early in life to break the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage.

Further details can be found here. A documentary about PFL can be found here .

Contact the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy

UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 4615 | E: geary@ucd.ie