Key Messages

The messages for practitioners flow from the key features of effective interventions that have been identified in the main article. If the evidence points to the need for a clear theoretical base for a programme that is going to work, we need to avoid  interventions that are based on a whim or simply the comfort of what has been offered in the past.

Any effective programme requires staff who understand the rationale and essential components of the intervention and who are not prepared to reduce the concentration of the mix.

Interventions have to be provided in real community contexts not ivory towers and shaped to meet the needs of local populations;

Partnership with families is a fundamental principle of child care legislation and is essential for any effective intervention.

There has to be a flexibility in methods of delivery to accommodate different preferences and learning styles – one size does not fit all.

Programmes need the capacity to differentiate between varying levels of need requiring different levels of intervention;

The chosen intervention needs to match the assessed level of need.

The intervention requires both a level of intensity and sufficient duration to have an impact.

Even programmes with proven effectiveness will not work with all young people and their families so be prepared for some disappointments.

Evaluate local interventions so that gradually our UK knowledge base will not rely so heavily on studies from the US and elsewhere.

Reviews like this do not guarantee success.

They do not constitute ready-made meals that we can take from the freezer like some sort of practice fast food”. But they do offer evidence that could help our practice become better-informed. They also provide the means of making our spending more intelligent. Most important of all, they have the potential to reduce the number of distressed children who are likely to become even more troubled adults.


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