The case for early intervention is given a boost today in a report by the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services (C4EO).
Grasping the Nettle: Early Intervention for Children, Families and Communities finds interventions should take place “the earlier the better to secure maximum impact and greatest long-term sustainability.”
The report, a combined effort from C4EO and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), lends weight to the ADCS’s call for the government to ring-fence money for early intervention work or service redesign in the comprehensive spending review this month.
“[The report] adds to the increasing bank of evidence supporting both the effectiveness and the cost-effectiveness of early intervention,” said ADCS vice-president Matt Dunkley.
“It will be invaluable to all local authorities considering how to ensure that they have the capacity to provide early intervention services in order to help reduce demand for the child protection services that are under severe pressure; and to improve the experience and life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in society.
“The examples presented by the C4EO show that often simple steps can have massive benefits, such as making contact with every expectant mother to make her aware of services available to her family.
“In many of the examples it is clear that this approach requires co-operation across services and professions. This should be required reading for every director, politician and policymaker involved with the design, funding and delivery of services for children and families.”
Christine Davies, director of C4EO, said: “We appear to have reached a tipping point where our knowledge and practice have progressed sufficiently to make the policy question not whether we should invest in early intervention, but how can we not do so?”
The report is accompanied by a practice guide to help local authorities and their partners improve outcomes for children, families and communities through early intervention.
The coalition has set up an independent commission on early intervention chaired by Graham Allen, MP for Nottingham North.
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