The Incredible Years (IY) programmes were developed in the US to help children, parents, and teachers of young children promote social, emotional, and academic competence. They have been rigorously researched in randomised controlled trials over the last 30 years with positive results.
The Incredible Years Ireland Study is an ambitious, national evaluation of the IY parent, teacher, and child series. It is the first of its kind in Ireland, and one of the very small number outside the US, which will endeavour to assess the community-based implementation of the Incredible Years programme. Furthermore, the study will attempt to assess the transferability and effectiveness of the three elements of the programmes (parent, teacher and child training), both singly and in combination, within an Irish context.
The study was commissioned in 2007 by Archways, a national organisation concerned with promoting, supporting, and delivering IY in Ireland. The €1million study is funded by Archways, with financial support from Atlantic Philanthropies. It is a collaborative venture between Archways and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) and involves an expert team of seven national and international academics. A project team of seven staff is also involved in the day-to-day execution of the research, while Archways personnel oversee all aspects of the on-the-ground delivery of the programme.
This research will have important policy and practice implications with regard to ways in which to improve outcomes for "at risk" children with emotional and behavioural difficulties and their families, both in Ireland and elsewhere. It also highlights the benefits of universities and community-based organisations working closely together.
Dr Tracey Bywater is a co-applicant on this study, which will run from 2007 to 2011. More information about Incredible Years is available through the programme website.