Breaking Through is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors with three staff members.
Board of Directors
Gerard Griffin (Chairman) & National Co-ordinator, Youthreach/ VTOS
Gerry has been on the Breaking Through Board since it was established. Employed by Department of Education and Skills to co-ordinate the network of Youthreach and the VTOS programme. Works at a very strategic level within the Department of Education and Skills & with a broad range of managerial experience of managing and leading EU funded projects over the last 15 years. Has been involved in supporting travellers at many different levels over the years as well as in the decision making process in the development of appropriate responses by the DES in tackling early school leaving from a policy perspective.Has worked on many local, regional, national committees with regard to the development of policy responses to a whole range of issues facing young people, adults who are experiencing a whole range of educational challenges in Irish society. Has represented the Department at many different fora at local, regional and national levels.Considerable experience of conducting research and report writing. Supports a range of stakeholders regards meeting the needs of early school leavers. Has managed specific budgets for the Department over the years. Posesses good communication skills/analytical skills.
Ciaran Kenny – Vice Chairperson & Aftercare Worker, Tusla
Ciaran Kenny qualified from Athlone Institute of Technology with an Hons Bachelor of Arts in Applied Social Studies in Social Care in 2004. Ciaran has worked with vulnerable young people for over twenty years both in residential care as well as aftercare. During his time working with Don Bosco Care, Ciaran founded both the Don Bosco Care football team and activity centre which provides a positive outlet both for young people currently in state care and care leavers. Ciaran is currently employed as an Aftercare Worker with Tusla, based in Dublin North Central, working closely with young people both in care and accessing aftercare, supporting their transition from various care settings, and assisting in the coordination and delivery of their individual aftercare plans.
Neil Forsyth (Pro) & Services Manager, Focus Ireland
Neil Forsyth has worked for Focus Ireland for 15 years as a Services Manager. Previously, he worked for the HSE in the residential childcare sector, managing a residential centre for 5 years. Neil represented the voluntary sector on the National Aftercare Steering Committee, which developed the implementation plan for the National Aftercare Policy(2011). He manages all of Focus Ireland’s aftercare services in Dublin among a range of other services. His expertise is in the area of youth homelessness and he has contributed to the recent review of the 2001 Youth Homeless Strategy. He has contributed to the development of Focus Ireland’s last two strategies, a key element of both being the prevention of homelessness among vulnerable groups. These include people leaving institutional settings, such as the care system, prison and psychiatric care.
Sharon Byrne – Board Member & Aftercare Worker, Crosscare
Sharon is an Aftercare Worker with Crosscare and has worked in this role since 2006 to present. She has worked in partnership with the Unaccompanied Minors, HSE team, offering them a day programme and assisting them with their education and sourcing funding for third level. Sharon started her career working with children in a nursery setting for ten years; she then went on to work in Smylys, Monkstown Residential for a year working with both boys and girls under the care of the HSE. Following on from this position Sharon worked with Home Again (formerly Los Angeles), residential unit for boys, she held this position for seven years. Sharon has a degree in Social Care Practice. During the course of her career Sharon has supervised DIT students on placement.
Edel Weldon – Board Member & Advocacy Officer, EPIC
Edel holds a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care from Sligo I.T. She has extensive experience working in various Children’s Residential Centres for over 9 years as a Social Care Worker, Acting Social Care Leader/Deputy Manager and Acting Manager for a period .Edel was the first established Aftercare Worker in the then HSE Dublin South City Area and developed the Aftercare service (Now part of TUSLA Dublin South Central). Edel joined the team in EPIC – ‘Empowering People in Care’ in January 2017 as an Advocacy Officer.
Eavan Brady – Board Member & Assistant Professor in Social Work, Trinity College, Dublin
Eavan is an Assistant Professor in Social Work in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin. She holds a Masters in Social Work from Trinity College Dublin, a Higher Diploma in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, and a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College Dublin. Eavan’s PhD explored the educational pathways of adults with care experience in Ireland using a life course perspective. Prior to joining the School of Social Work & Social Policy, Eavan worked in the homelessness, housing, and mental health sectors in both Dublin and Toronto, Canada. Eavan also spent two years working with Practice and Research Together in Toronto where she was heavily involved in supporting staff in child welfare agencies across Canada to use evidence-informed practices in their work. Eavan teaches Introduction to Social Research on the Masters in Social Work, the Masters in Child Protection and Welfare, and the Masters in Social Policy and Practice. Eavan also teaches Human Development in Social Contexts on the Masters in Social Work course and Psychology for Social Work on the Bachelor in Social Studies.
Louise Keane – Board Member & Social Care Worker, Tusla
Louise holds a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies & Social Care from Dundalk Institute of Technology. She has worked with vulnerable young people and their families for the last thirteen years both in residential care and in the community as an aftercare worker. Louise is currently working with young people in a preparation for leaving care centre supporting each young person to achieve their aim of living independently with adequate resources and supports. We help each young person to achieve their personal goals and dreams.
Charlotte Armstrong – Board Member & Regional Manager, Daffodil Care
Charlotte Armstrong qualified from John Moores Liverpool University with an Hons Bachelor of Arts in Social Work in 2011. During her time studying, she worked with the NHS in a psychiatric facility as an auxiliary nurse. Once qualified as a Social Worker, she moved to Ireland and started a career in Children’s Residential Services, as a social care worker and move onto senior management within Daffodil Care Services. In her current role as Regional Manager Charlotte is working with a number of young people based within the Munster Region in supporting and preparing them for their transition into adulthood and leaving care.
Yvonne Casey – National Director
Reporting to the Board, Yvonne is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the organisation, developing and implementing the strategic plan.
Yvonne is a great ambassador for the organisation and its values whilst leading and developing a dedicated, ambitious staff team. A strategic thinker who can work collaboratively with the Board to realise Breaking Through’s vision. Valuing both good governance and best practice in her role, Yvonne is highly organised and self-motivated and enjoys a fast-paced environment with a wide & varied remit.
Jane Tracey – Administrator
Jane is a very proficient Administrator. Her friendly welcome (by phone or email) is often the first contact enquiries will have with Breaking Through. She is highly efficient in her organisational skills and ensures all necessary follow-ups are actioned.
Fiona Dockery – Accounts Administrator
Fiona has over 20 years accounts experience covering both practice and industry. Her role at Breaking Through is to ensure that all financial records are maintained in a timely and efficient manner and in line with legislation. She assists and supports Yvonne in sourcing new funding and supplying existing funders with full financial and traceability back-up.