The government has announced a new Children and Young People’s grant to help councils continue early intervention and prevention work.
The ring-fenced grant, trialled from April 2011, will be made up of existing pots of money currently earmarked for youth activities, school improvement, support for families, disabled children, Sure Start and money previously included within the Area Based Grant for children and young people.
The DCSF does not yet have an exact figure of how much money the grant would encompass. It will be accompanied by opportunities to pool budgets with PCTs and the police.
The grant was announced alongside the publication of Early Intervention: Securing good outcomes for all children and young people from the Department for Children, Schools and Familiies (DCSF).
The paper announced the setting up of an early intervention implementation group to focus on strengthening the common assessment framework (CAF) and developing the skills of those working in schools and health to use it.
The implementation group will also decide what situations should automatically trigger a CAF, such as a child’s exclusion from school.
In an attempt to secure more funding for early intervention at a time when council’s are cutting budgets the government also plans to look at how social impact bonds could be used to lever more private sector investment into the area.
These bonds work by securing money from commercial companies or foundations for programmes focusing on specific groups of children or young people and payments are linked to outcomes.
Experts would look at two current pilots of social impact bonds already existence, announced in the Smarter Government White Paper published in December 2009. One of these pilots was aimed at reducing re-offending amongst short sentenced prisoners released from HMP in Peterborough.
Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, said: “Every person who works with children, young people and families has a part to play in making early intervention work in their area. This is especially important for schools, colleges, children’s centres and GPs.”
Children’s minister Baroness Delyth Morgan told Community Care: “Early intervention can be a real cost benefit and a better way of managing resources, as well as improving quality of life and outcomes for children.”
The implementation group is due to report to ministers in autumn 2010.