A new Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) birth cohort has been approved by the Irish government.
The lives of a new generation of Irish children - babies yet to be born who will be nine months old in 2024 - will be tracked to determine what it is like to grow up in contemporary, post-pandemic Ireland.
According to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, the new study will "greatly benefit policy making".
He said, "This exciting new study will not only allow us to track the lives and development of a whole new generation, but we will also be able to compare their experiences to the earlier Growing Up in Ireland cohorts – those young people who are now age 14 and 24.
"The specific benefit of a new birth cohort is that it will generate evidence that policy makers can use to assess the implementation of Government’s commitments in supporting babies and young children, such as enhancing work-life balance opportunities, access to high quality early childhood care and education.
"It will also seek to capture in more detail than previously, the diverse experiences of families and children in Ireland – particularly among smaller subgroups in the population, such as diverse ethnic groups, children in migrant families or those with disabilities."
It's hoped the study will facilitate scientific research on par with best practice in longitudinal research internationally.
This research is considered the best kind to track development over time.
Minister O’Gorman also provided cabinet with an update on progress made on the ambitious new model of delivery for Growing Up in Ireland, which will commence in January 2023.
The new model will involve the Central Statistics Office (CSO) taking on responsibility for GUI data collection transfer.
The minister continued: "Since 2006, under the stewardship of the ESRI, the Growing Up in Ireland study has made a huge contribution to informing policy and decision making on matters that impact children and young people. Most recently, it has provided us with evidence on the impact of the pandemic on children and young people.
"The decision to start a new birth cohort in 2024 marks a very exciting milestone for the study and reinforces the study as a leading member of the international family of longitudinal studies. I am looking forward to a very bright future for the study."
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