We have successfully delivered the Growing Child programme for 30 years across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, and Zambia


We are the only programme in Ireland to be evaluated as one programme across the two jurisdictions (NI and RoI) through a robust fully experimental evaluation (RCT), giving us the credibility and confidence to deliver anywhere across the UK and beyond


We are the only programme that is delivered within the home, based on a systemic curriculum of information


We are underpinned by a model of progressive universalism – universal provision for all families with progression to a more intensive service for families with additional needs

NO stigma

We adopt a strengths-based approach – by focusing on how young children develop and learn the Lifestart programme is less stigmatising than other ‘deficit’ models of family support.


We have consistently achieved high levels of parental engagement through promoting a supportive relationship and working with all parents on a one-to-one basis, including those perceived as ‘hard to reach’ or ‘at-risk’.


We believe that good outcomes for families are best achieved when those who support them work in a spirit of partnership, dialogue and shared problem-solving. Lifestart is committed to facilitating parental participation in decision-making on service design within the framework of evidence-based practice.


By taking an integrated approach to early intervention and prevention we can ensure good outcomes for all, but in particular, for children who are considered to be more vulnerable.

Partnership working

Lifestart supports those delivering the Lifestart service to integrate the Lifestart programme and home-visiting service into other family support structures, and to synthesise Lifestart practice with statutory health promotion and child development/protection goals.

Expert authors

The Growing Child was written by the following child development experts. The programme is regularly reviewed and updated.

  • Phil Bach, O.D., Ph.D
  • George Early, Ph.D
  • Liam Grimley, Ph.D
  • Sylvia Kottler, M.S.
  • Miriam Bender, Ph.D
  • Joseph Braga, Ed.D
  • Laurie Braga, Ph.D
  • Carol R. Gestwicki, M.S.
  • Robert Hannermann, M.D., F.A.A.P.
  • Bill Peterson, Ph.D