Judge sounds early intervention alert

Resources for the government’s early intervention initiatives to
target children at risk must be directed at “joint endeavours”
rather than “individual enterprises”, a senior judge warned last

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the president of the family division
of the High Court, warned of the risk of government departments
working individually. She told the Paul Sieghart Memorial Lecture:
“I just hope they are all talking to each other across departments
and co-ordinating their efforts.”

She emphasised that children in trouble – particularly persistent
offenders – were also those who needed help.

“Children in trouble need to be caught early and their problems
dealt with in the context of the problems of their families.”

She said the antisocial behaviour white paper contained
“interesting ideas” on working within the community as well as
measures to punish offenders.

“If community-based initiatives were embarked on as a joint
endeavour and not just limited to antisocial behaviour, they might
conceivably do a great deal for problem families in need of help,”
Butler-Sloss said.

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