About Us

Ireland has been at the forefront of supporting Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) initiatives through partnership approaches between The Atlantic Philanthropies, NGOs, state agencies and Government since 2004. We have become a world leader in the design, implementation and evaluation of evidence informed services which intervene early, seeking to prevent difficulties for children and families and to identify and respond early to emerging difficulties.

The Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) harnesses the commitment, expertise and experience of our many members, and the various perspectives which they bring. PEIN networking events offer opportunities to learn, share, challenge and collaborate in a supportive environment which seeks to promote effective approaches and provide a collective voice for the sector.

Our Network

Since 2010 the Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) has been harnessing the commitment, expertise and experience of our many members, and the various perspectives which they bring. PEIN offers its members opportunities to learn, share, challenge and collaborate in a supportive environment which seeks to promote effective approaches and provide a collective voice for the sector.

Our Purpose is to:

   Share, develop and disseminate learning in PEI practices and approaches;

   Support the work of members / member organisations;

  Influence policy and practice, nationally, internationally as well as locally.

Key Members

Francis Chance

Francis Chance, Consultant in Children and Family Services

Francis has over 40 years’ experience of working with children and families in Ireland in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. Currently Francis is working as a Consultant in Children and Family Services, having worked with the Katharine Howard Foundation as Programme Manager for the Nurture Programme: Infant Health and Wellbeing over the last five years. The Nurture Programme sought to strengthen the HSE’s universal supports to parents in pregnancy and early childhood. Previously Francis worked with Barnardos and with the Eastern Health Board / Northern Area Health Board. Francis is a Professional Social Worker, qualifying from the University of Liverpool.

Contact details:
086 6068753

Mary Holmes

Pg Dip (Ed), BA Community Development (Hons), Bachelor Business Studies (Hons)

Mary has worked in the field of adult, family and community education for over 20 years, on numerous projects supporting family literacy and family learning, development of family learning programmes, projects tackling social exclusion and cultural and social diversity.  Currently Mary is working on Lifestart’s SOOC (Shaping Ourselves and Our Children) Project.  This project focuses on early childhood development and incorporates awareness of social and cultural diversity for the participant.  The aim of SOOC is to help parents understand that home life shapes how children view themselves, their families and the wider community.  Mary is a member of the Teaching Council of Ireland.

Mary strongly believes that maltreatment and neglect of children is totally preventable, however fully understands that a strong collective effort is required in achieving this goal. 

Jennifer Hough

Jennifer has 15 years of experience in the areas of research and communications. An advocate for social justice, currently she is the Policy Research Officer for Alcohol Action Ireland & Mental Health Ireland. She is passionate about the concept of trauma-informed systems and services, and prevention and early intervention activities.

Jennifer has first class Master’s degrees in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and in Child and Family Law from University College Cork.

Yvonne Leckey

Yvonne Leckey is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Psychology, Maynooth University, with research expertise in early intervention and prevention initiatives, specifically child health and development. Particular interests include the wellbeing and mental health of at-risk populations, understanding how services engage more vulnerable families and identifying barriers to participation.

Yvonne’s background includes a Masters in Anthropology, and a Certificate in Community Development and she has undertaken a large number of community-based research projects over the last decade. She is currently the Project Manager of the SALaM (Study of Adolescent Lives after Migration) Ireland Study which is exploring the psychosocial and mental health wellbeing of Arabic-speaking refugee adolescents and identifying what supports are available to them in schools and the wider community.

Julie-Ann Lyons

Julie-Ann Lyons is a Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, a Professionally Qualified Social Worker and a clinical supervisor. She has been working in Youngballymun as an Infant Mental Health (IMH) Coordinator since September 2018. Her role involves providing Infant Mental Health support to parents and carers through home visiting. Julie-Ann also runs the Circle of Security® Parenting™ Programme and supports capacity building of practitioners through providing reflective supervision and delivering Youngballymun’s IMH Masterclass.  

Julie-Ann is Child and Adolescent strand lead on the Msc. in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Trinity College Dublin and the coordinator of the Infant Observation Module. She tutors on the Social Work Masters course in Trinity and lectures for both Trinity and UCD.

Dr Deirdre MacIntyre

Director, Institute of Child Education and Psychology, (ICEP) Europe

Deirdre is a clinical psychologist and co-founder of ICEP Europe, an independent training and research institute, specialising in psychology, inclusion and special educational neds. Before establishing ICEP Europe, Deirdre was principal clinical psychologist in the Eastern Regional Health Authority and she is also the co-author of the Stay Safe Programme, a nationally implemented child protection programme. Deirdre is involved in the development of evidence-based resilience and wellbeing initiatives for different groups including children and adolescents, young mothers and unemployed youth. She teaches on collaborative programmes with Dublin City University and the University of East London.  Among Deirdre’s special interests are inclusion, resilience and nature connectedness. She is involved in EU funded research on nature-based solutions, resilience and wellbeing, and on the prevention of gender-based violence.

Contact details:
087 9314224

Rebecca Moore

(Project Leader – Better Finglas ABC Programme and Finglas West FRC)
BSoc.Sc. (UCD); Certificate in Housing Management (ICSH & NCI); MSc. Business and Management – HRM (IPA)

Project Manager with over 20 years’ experience working with vulnerable adults, young people and children in disadvantaged communities. 17 years held within management roles, including the housing and homeless sector and Barnardos, where I am currently managing one of the National ABC programmes (Better Finglas) and also one of the National Family Resource Centres (Finglas West FRC) based in Finglas, Dublin 11. This is a senior management role within Barnardos, who is the Lead Agency for both initiatives. These projects involve the collaboration of over 50 partner organisations within the community, voluntary and statutory sector, as they are a Consortium led approach to the delivery of a suite of evidence-based programmes for people living in Finglas. The aim of both projects is to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, poor educational attainment and unemployment using a preventative and early intervention approach, which is based upon the core principles of community development. I have a keen focus on family support work, community development, early intervention and prevention, and a strong commitment towards education, training and empowerment.

Marian Quinn

Marian is Chief Executive of the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI), an organisation co-funded by Government and philanthropy, to design, deliver and evaluate a range of services aimed at improving outcomes for children and families.  Based in a disadvantaged area of Dublin, this has involved commissioning multiple independent evaluations, developing a broad range of quality assurance processes and delivery mechanisms, and balancing an evidence informed approach with a community led ethos. Her work in CDI has offered Marian the opportunity to lead a significant knowledge transfer process for diverse audiences, support front line practitioners and their line managers to take on new approaches, and establish excellent governance structures and systems in a green field site.   

Marian has previously worked in the Department of Justice where she had responsibility for children and families in the asylum process, and the Health Services Executive as Director of Children’s Services.  She has also worked in the voluntary sector with early school leavers and young people at risk.  She wrote and managed a national crime prevention initiative, and has been published widely in relation to youth crime. 

Marian has presented to national and international audiences on the development and enhancement of services for children and families, evidence-based approaches and change management processes. She is a qualified Life Coach and has a Masters in Adult Education. She is a member of the Board of Management for the the new National Childrens’ Hospital and also the Board of the Airfield Trust, and is currently Chair of the Prevention and Early Intervention Network.   

Marian is co-author of Click Click, the number one best seller telling the true story of the three Kavanagh sisters and their journey to overcome child sex abuse.

Contact details:
087 3158836

Niall Sexton

Programme Manager, Preparing for Life

Niall Sexton joined Preparing for Life as Programme Manager in 2018.  PFL is an evidence based, manualised Early Intervention Programme providing home visiting and other supports to families in a highly disadvantaged community in North Dublin.  Niall has a background in community development and non-profit management in the United States and Ireland.  He has previously managed homeless and addiction services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before returning to Ireland to work in developing local responses to disadvantage and social exclusion in Dublin.   Niall is a qualified Social Worker with an MSW in Social Work and Community Organising from the University of Pittsburgh.

Contact details:
(087) 700-3492

Dara Terry

B.Soc. Sc. UCD, P Grad Dip Personnel Management NCIRL M.Sc. Child Protection and Welfare.TCD.

Dara trained as a Social Worker and worked in intellectual disability before moving to Training and Development in the Private Sector including running her own training consultancy business for many years.  Dara returned to Family work over 20 years ago as Family Support Manager in St Andrew’s Resource Centre with responsibility for programmes to support families, therapeutic services, child protection, policy and development.  She has a particular interest in early intervention using family support principals and progressive universalism as a method of working.  The Family resource centre is ideally situated to provide this early intervention service within communities providing scaffolding for the family as required. 

Dara is also a board member of the National Forum of Family resource centres representing 121 Family Resource Centres nationally and represents this board in relation to Childcare and Strategic development nationally.  She is on the executive committee of Kinship Care Ireland,  an embryonic organisation striving  to provide support for the hidden carers providing Kinship Care in Ireland. 

Contact details:

Mary Walker Callaghan

Mary has worked with Lifestart since March 1999 and is currently the Regional Manager of Lifestart Services CLG in Donegal. Mary is a graduate of Dublin Institute of Technology and holds a MA in child, Family and Community, she also holds an Honors BA in Community Development from Letterkenny Institute of Technology and has an Honors BA in Community Development and a Diploma from the University of Ulster in Management in the Community and Voluntary Sector. Mary is a highly regarded practitioner in the realm of parenting and family support in Donegal and sits on a number of high-level committees both locally, regionally, and nationally.

Mary’s previous work experience includes outdoor education as a qualified mountaineering and canoeing instructor, working with young offenders and managing a home for young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.  She is an advocate of supporting parents as the primary nurturers of their children and is particularly passionate about breaking the cycle of disadvantage through timely, evidence-based supports and services delivered in communities and in the home.

Maria O’Dwyer, National Coordinator

Maria has been involved with PEIN, as both a member and an international conference representative, since 2011. She took up the position of National Coordinator in February 2021. A former Area Based Childhood (ABC)  Project Manager with Start Right Limerick and lecturer in the Sociology of Early Childhood, Maria has extensive research and teaching experience in both early childhood and prevention and early intervention. Following a PhD (2006) in Peace and Development Studies, childhood poverty and marginalisation have been the prevalent themes of both her work and research interests.

Some Key Successes

PEIN has successfully advocated for the following:

Establishment of the PEI Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Inclusion of prevention in the founding legislation of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency

 Inclusion of PEI in the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures.

Research Into Effectiveness

The effectiveness of prevention and early intervention initiatives in improving outcomes for children has been and continues to be rigorously evaluated. This ensures the delivery of the most effective support to the children, families and communities in which they operate, and also ensures that policy makers and those who design and deliver services for children and families can benefit from this experience and put it to work in other communities and populations.
Key Prevention And Early Intervention Messages
Simply put, intervening early helps children become more resilient and to realise their full potential. Prevention and early intervention is essential to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and disadvantage.

The Main objective of the network is – to provide a social and emotional bedrock for the current and future generations of infants, children and young people across the island of Ireland by helping them and their parents (or other main caregivers) before problems arise.

Why Is It Important?

Prevention and Early Intervention can have life-long positive effects on outcomes for children and young people, such as achievement of developmental milestones; educational attainment; better mental health and reduced juvenile crime.

Prevention and early intervention have been shown to impact positivity on the entire life course of the child, reducing their need to avail of a wide range of state services at later stages in their lives and increasing their quality of life. There is clear international evidence on the long-term cost-effectiveness of prevention and early intervention programmes in reducing the long-term need for more costly interventions throughout the child’s life.


In short…

It makes sense – prevention is better than cure.
Acting now is more effective than intervening later.
We’ve got the know-how.