The prime minister last night insisted that early intervention with children at risk of developing antisocial behaviour could result in huge financial savings at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, writes Clare Jerrom.
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During a question and answers session, Tony Blair said early mentoring and intervention could result in huge savings on the money that would be spent on prison places and health services to address the problems if they were left unchecked.
“Essentially we have an absurd situation in this country today where we wait until some of these families in real difficulty become critical, we then have multiple agencies going in and trying to deal with the problem, we end up spending hundreds of thousands of pounds and I’m not sure what good it all does in the end,” he said.
Blair added that early intervention made a huge difference.
The prime minister was also quizzed by a foster carer from Poole who highlighted that the children coming into her care were much older and far more damaged as a result of the system.
She said: “Foster carers would prefer to have the children coming in earlier where they can help them when they’re younger, rather than leave them until they’re 10,11, 12 coming in far, far more damaged.”
Blair pledged to look at the system and paid respect to the work foster carers carry out.
“I don’t say this in any shape or form disrespectfully to the people who work in care homes for children and so on, but it is better if a kid is in a family, basically, I’m sure,” the prime minister concluded.