CHILDREN'S hospice LauraLynn is starting a home care programme for ill youngsters.
A team of healthcare professionals will provide respite, transitional, crisis and end-of-life care for up to 50 families as part of a 12-month pilot programme worth €800,000.
The programme for the Leopardstown hospice has been fully funded from public donations, with most coming from Today FM's Half Million Half Marathon event.
The initiative was announced by Miriam O'Callaghan, a patron of the hospice, who dressed up as Superwoman for the occasion.
Families who will receive the service live in counties Dublin, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare, Wicklow, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly and Longford. It is hoped that the scheme will roll out to other areas.
Spokeswoman Julie Ling said: "National and international evidence suggests that the majority of parents, where possible, wish to care for their child at home with the appropriate supports. LauraLynn@Home will work aims to provide families with more choices."
She added: "Our aim is to provide the same high standard of care, regardless of whether the child is cared for in LauraLynn House or in the child's own home."