Children and Youth Services

Children and Youth Services for ABI

Our services

The Children and Youth service is designed and dedicated to empower families to support children and young people who have sustained an acquired brain injury (ABI) throughout Northern Ireland.

We recognise that the whole family system is affected when a child or young person sustains an ABI. Our service works with the whole family unit to enable everyone to better manage the impact of ABI in daily life. Evidence-based practice forms the foundation of all our work.

Who can make a referral?

Anyone can make a referral to Children and Youth Services and we accept referrals from across Northern Ireland. Once a referral is received we will contact the family or referral agent directly to discuss the next steps. To make a referral please complete the children and youth referral form.

Social Activities

Activities will be provided regionally for children, young people and their families. These will provide fun activities and the opportunity to model and facilitate connection and interaction.

The benefits of the programme will consist of:

  • Developing social interaction skills

  • Encouraging activity outside the family unit

  • Encouraging activities for enjoyment

  • Promoting exercise for physical and psychological benefit

  • Promoting meaningful family, social interactions

  • Development of peer friendships

  • Identification of personal interests

Children and Youth Services Brain Injury Matters
Children and Youth Services Brain Injury Matters

Family Based Support

Our practitioners work alongside the child, young person and family unit to empower them to provide the appropriate support to their child with ABI. Tailored support takes place in the family home, local community or online via our Family First portal.

We work in partnership with parents/carers, children and siblings to ensure the family are equipped to take confident steps towards positive progress.

Support is tailored to meet the child, young person and families’ needs and may include:

  • Help families better understand ABI and its impact on the whole family

  • Explore ways to manage potential problems that might arise

  • Provide skills and strategies to equip families to problem solve

  • Support families to identify goals and work towards achieving them

  • Help families make gains through evidence-based support

  • Help keep families connected

  • Empower families to feel confident in supporting each other post childhood ABI

Children and Youth Services Brain Injury Matters


Workshops are run by children and youth service practitioners regionally to help connect families who have shared experiences of childhood ABI. We provide workshops for parents/carers, children with ABI and siblings involved in our service. These workshops are tailored to meet the specific needs of families.

  • ABI information

  • Behaviour

  • Sleep

  • Emotional wellbeing

  • School

  • Social relationships

Children and Youth Services Brain Injury Matters
Peer Mentoring

Peer Mentoring

This programme will educate and support young adults with ABI to become mentors to a group of 13-18 year olds with ABI. The peer mentoring scheme will be delivered in the Southern Trust Area in partnership with Southern Trust Community Brain Injury.

Virtual Conference

On Monday 10th May we welcomed over 100 people to our virtual conference "Developing Services for Children Living with Acquired Brain Injury: Good Practice, Opportunities and Challenges", delivered in partnership with Belfast Health & Social Care Trust with speakers including Health Minister Robin Swann and Interim Mental Health Champion Siobhán O’Neill.

To view a recording of the conference, please click on the links below.

Morning Session Afternoon Session

Click the link below to read the evaluation report of the conference.

Download Report

Click the link below to read the Conference Programme

Download Programme
Peer Mentoring

To avail of our Children and Youth service, please complete a referral form and return via email to

Referral Form

Family First Portal

The Family First Portal provides families with a forum to connect with each other and with their Children and Youth Service practitioner.

Access the Family First Portal

Each family involved with the service will be given a unique login username and password which will grant them access to their individualised site.

Workshop materials will be made available on the Portal for any family that attended a workshop. Families can access a calendar reminding them of upcoming appointments or workshop dates.

Finally, the Portal includes a chat forum where parents can engage in conversations with each other on predetermined topics. There will be a user agreement which parents need to sign up to. The forum will be monitored for appropriate content by a Family First staff member.

This Portal can only be accessed by families engaged with the service.

Children and Youth Services Brain Injury Matters Portal

Family First Summary Report

The following document provides a synopsis of the Family First project’s achievements and highlights the considerable difference made to the lives of over 200 people impacted by ABI, the contribution to service provision and the capacity building in education and health services.

Download Report 

Five Year Evaluation Report

authored by Dr Chris McCusker, Vice Head of School; Director, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University College Cork

Download Report 
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