Jack and Jill Foundation

The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation

The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation is an Irish children’s charity set up by two parents in 1997 – Mary Ann O’Brien and Jonathan Irwin who were supported to care for their son Jack at home by local nurses, until Jack passed away at home at the age of 22 months on 13th December 1997.

Jack’s home nursing care plan became the blueprint for over 2,600 children who’ve been supported by Jack & Jill since then, as Mary Ann and Jonathan vowed that no parents should have to walk this difficult care journey alone.

The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation funds and provides in-home nursing care for children with highly complex medical conditions up to the age of six.  We also provide end of life care for children under 6, regardless of the diagnosis. Today we have 385 children under our wing, right across the country.

These are children with highly complex medical and life-limiting conditions.  They may be tube fed, oxygen-dependent, take seizures and are on heavy medication and require around the clock care.

The medical term is ‘neurodevelopmental issues’ which may include brain injury, genetic diagnosis and severe cerebral palsy.  Many children supported by Jack & Jill are undiagnosed, as their condition is so rare.

Their care needs are very high, with over 20 pieces of medical equipment typically in the home.  Life is uncertain for these children, their conditions are rare, prognosis uncertain, hospital visits are frequent.  But what we know for sure is that they do better at home, where their family want them, in their own home, in their own community.

For whatever time they have. Our parents are ordinary parents, facing extraordinary care demands and they can do it, with support from Jack & Jill. The parent is the primary carer and we always respect that. Parents call the service the ‘gift of time’.  Time to allow the family to do the normal things, like sleeping, shopping, work, school, normal family routine, while their Jack & Jill child is well cared for at home by an expert.

A very important part of our service is end of life support at home and that is provided to children under 6 whose families require our support, regardless of the diagnosis.  Our nurses help the parents to bring that child home, even for just one night or one week. It means so much.

Our service is not just for a week or a weekend but rather an ongoing care commitment and a bond that lasts forever.   Jack & Jill typically funds and supports 40 or 50 hours for families per month, increasing to 80 hours for end of life support, through a donation direct to family model.

With Jack & Jill, the money follows the patient, in this case, the child, into the home.   There is no waiting list or means test with Jack & Jill and this service operates 7 days a week, across the country.   Ours is a child and family centred model.  Every child is unique, as is every family situation.

Where the Money Goes 

Your support makes a huge difference and your donation is a real ‘Gift of Time’ by paying for specialist home nursing care hours for children in your local community. Now more than ever that sense of community really matters.

With Jack & Jill, monies raised locally stay locally to support Jack & Jill families with home nursing care hours in their community, as we ask people to continue to Support Local and Donate Local.

Good Governance is a key aspect of Jack & Jill and we were very proud recipient of two Awards last year, one from Carmichael and the other from The Wheel.

There can be no doubt that the service provided by Jack & Jill makes an enormous difference to the lives of the children and their families across the country.

However, we would not be able to continue without the ongoing support of the wider public, our patrons and corporate partners who have responded to our call for help to fund the vital work we do, as well.

We endeavour to help improve families’ lives by engaging with the child and family to empower them and give them the choice to care for their child at home, often in extraordinary circumstances with extraordinary responsibilities.


The Jack & Jill Team

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