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Festival of Learning

Championing prevention and early intervention in Government


The history of prevention and early intervention in Ireland has involved many organisations and influences at different times. Community and voluntary organisations, partnerships, area based approaches and philanthropy have all played a role the development of prevention and early intervention, gathering and sharing learning and experience to improve policy and services.

Government has also played a leading role – through establishing the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) designing and implementing policy, commissioning services, working in partnership with services and recognising families as key partners. As we look towards future challenges, what is the role of the state in championing prevention and early intervention? How can government keep prevention and early intervention at the heart of policy and services so that it works for all children, and young people living in Ireland?

Event details

This event takes place online, on Tuesday November 3rd, between 2 and 3pm .

Attendance is free, but booking is essential.

Tune in here

Moderator & Panel Contributors


Dr Patrick McCarthy will give the opening keynote. Dr McCarthy is a respected clinician and public sector leader who recently retired from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Panel contributors include Conor Rowley (Assistant Secretary, Department of Children and Youth Affairs) and Dr Aisling Gillen (Regional Service Director, West, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency).

This event will be moderated by Áine Kerr. Áine is a teacher turned journalist turned entrepreneur and is co-founder of a new start up called Kinzen. During the summer months, Áine presented the programme ‘Reignite’ on Radio 1 and has also presented ‘The Business’ on RTE. She is currently undertaking the Sulzberger Leadership Program at Columbia University.

Programme of Events

Championing prevention and early intervention in Government


Tuesday November 3rd

What can the government do to support prevention and early intervention? Join keynote speaker Dr Patrick McCarthy (former President, Annie E. Casey Foundation) and a panel including Conor Rowley (Assistant Secretary, DCYA) and Dr Aisling Gillen (Tusla), to hear about how the state has championed prevention and early intervention in Ireland.

Strengthening prevention in policy


Thursday November 5th

If prevention is better than cure, then how can we do more of it? In his keynote, Professor Paul Cairney (University of Stirling) will share findings from extensive interviews with policy makers in Scotland and the UK. We’ll hear from experienced policy makers in Estonia and Ireland.

What is the role of entrepreneurial thinking in social service settings, and how can we enhance it?

Rowan Conway

Monday November 9th

Entrepreneurs and innovators can bring creative thinking and new approaches to some of the biggest challenges in public services. Join keynote Rowan Conway (UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose) to hear about the public entrepreneur along with stories of innovative thinking from Ireland and the US.

Artificial Intelligence – all in for the future of our children

Alexa Hasse

Wednesday November 11th

There is increasing interest in Artificial Intelligence, but what does it mean for the wellbeing and lives of future children and young people in Ireland? Keynote contributor Alexa Hasse from the Berkman Klein Centre at Harvard University will unpack the jargon. A panel of speakers will consider the ethical questions, and we’ll hear practical examples of how AI can be used to improve outcomes for children and young people.