Welcome to the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC)

 Founded in 2007 with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Health Services Executive,and as part of the Institute for Lifecourse and Society with a base in the School of Political Science and Sociology, our Centre undertakes research, education and training in the area of Family Support and Youth Development with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention for children and young people experiencing adversity.


Rediscovering Empathy; Values, Relationships and Practice in a Changing World

UCFRC 8th Biennial International Conference: 8th & 9th June 2017, Institute for Lifecourse and Society

Across the globe, the perceived decline in empathy, care and social solidarity is a cause for concern.  Empathy is the ability and/or inclination to understand and experience another’s state or condition and, where appropriate, to respond through supportive actions.  Research has shown that empathy in individuals is essential to healthy social and emotional functioning and contributes to the enrichment of civic society. Conversely, where levels of empathy are compromised, studies have found an increased propensity to engage in anti-social behavior, such as bullying, aggression and offending behaviour.  For practitioners, empathy in direct relationship-based working is increasingly recognised as a cornerstone of good practice in work with children, young people and their families, while for society, there is an urgent need for empathy informed policy and action to address structural inequalities and disparities. The biennial UCFRC conference draws on national and international expertise to explore the concepts of empathy and relationship based working as they relate to policy and practice with children, youth and families.

Visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=491 










Our Mission

The Mission of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre is to help create the conditions for excellent policies, services and practices that improve the lives of children, youth and families through research, education and service development.

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UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth & Civic Engagement

The UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth & Civic Engagement, the first in the Republic of Ireland, was awarded to Professor Pat Dolan at NUI Galway in 2008. The UNESCO Chairs programme, part of the UNESCO University Education and Twinning Programme, advances research, training and programme development in all of UNESCO’s fields of competence by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation through the transfer of knowledge across borders. Professor Dolan conducts a programme of work within and supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) that spans a range of global partnerships involving universities, NGOs, international agencies and youth organisations encompassing research, education, and policy development activities.

For more information on the UNESCO Chair's activities, please visit the UNESCO Chair page through the link above.

Keep up to date with our work

News, Events, Publications and Projects from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.

Keep up to date with our work by visiting  our news and events page which includes details of our research projects & activities, biennial conferences, lunch-time seminars and much more.Through our Projects, Partnership & Network pages you will find details of our current and completed projects along with information on our various partnerships. We also have a full archive of our research publications from the past ten years which can be found under the publications tab.

For direct updates from the centre,  you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube through the links below.