Home > Quality and Capacity Building Initiative (QCBI).

Dillon, Lucy (2018) Quality and Capacity Building Initiative (QCBI). Drugnet Ireland, Issue 67, Autumn 2018, pp. 4-5.

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The Quality and Capacity Building Initiative (QCBI) of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has been under development since 2016, with progress being made on implementing some key components over 2017/18. The QCBI aims to take a coordinated approach to enhancing capacity, knowledge and quality in prevention, and early intervention for children, young people and their families, with a focus on those at risk of developing poor outcomes. It aims to ensure that effective practice is harnessed and applied across the relevant services and supports. There are four key strands to the initiative that set out to embed and enhance prevention and early intervention in children and young people’s policy, service provision, and practice.

The strands and their aims are:


1    Data working strand: To improve access and use of data and information relating to children, young people, and their families by aligning and developing what currently exists in this area.

2    Evidence working strand: To harness the learning from prevention and early intervention initiatives and research and actively support the use of this learning as a source and resource to inform planning, delivery, evaluation, and continuous improvements.

3    Professional development and capacity-building working strand: To enhance the capacity and skills development of policymakers, providers and practitioners in the appraisal and application of evidence-informed approaches in prevention and early intervention for children and young people through capacity building and development.

4    Quality working strand: To align, enhance and sustain quality in prevention and early intervention as it relates to the development and delivery of policy, provision, and practice for children and young people. 


Some key activities carried out under each strand are as follows: 


1. Data working strand

Development work is underway on an actively resourced data hub that includes data relating to children and young people that can be used by all stakeholders. 


2. Evidence working strand: Evidence Matrix

In April 2018, the DCYA sent out a call for tenders to develop an ‘evidence matrix’.1 The matrix will be an online tool that will be hosted on the QCBI area of the DCYA website. It is described as an ‘open access online guide/clearinghouse which will provide details and rated assessment of the costs and standards of evidence of impact of prevention and early intervention evidence based programmes globally and in Ireland’ (p. 3).1 The focus is on manualised programmes. The matrix will support stakeholders to identify, select, and implement the right evidence-based programmes to address one of a set of five broad national outcomes for children set out in the Better outcomes, brighter futures2 policy document, which includes those related to the prevention of drug and alcohol use. While the scope of programmes to be included in the matrix is broader than just the prevention of drug use, it will be a useful resource for those working in the sector.


Among the requirements of the matrix are that it will:


Provide details and an assessment of evidence and costs for prevention and early intervention-based programmes commonly implemented for children and young people services globally or in Ireland.

Rate the standard of evidence of impact available on each programme included on the online matrix.

Rate the costs of the programmes.

Provide details of each programme, including how it works.

Provide information on how the programme should be implemented and the resources required to implement it effectively.

Provide details of the ‘most reliable’ evaluations that have been carried out in Ireland and globally on the programme.

Provide contact details of licence holders and/or individuals/organisations that have implemented the programme in Ireland or Europe.

Provide technical guidance on evaluations, analyses, and further suggested reading related to the programme.


Work on the matrix is expected to begin in 2018, with a contract running to the end of 2020. 


3. Professional development and capacity-building working strand

The planned output under the professional development and capacity-building working strand is a standardised module of training in prevention and early intervention, with the associated supports. A mapping exercise of existing training in this field has been carried out. 


4. Quality working strand

While there have been no specific deliverables completed under the quality strand, much of the work being carried out under the other three strands is expected to impact on the quality of service design and delivery.



1  Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2018) Request for tenders 27 April 2018 for the development of evidence matrix for the Quality and Capacity Building Initiative. Dublin: Department of Children and Youth Affairs. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/29299/

2  Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2014) Better outcomes, brighter futures: the national policy framework for children and young people 2014–2020. Dublin: Department of Children and Youth Affairs. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/21773

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