Funding for early intervention services cut by 55% in last five years

Investigation by leading children's charities found spending on children's centres and support services has fallen by a quarter

Photo: Rachel Schraer

Funds to intervene early with children and families have fallen by 55% in the past five years, an investigation has found.

In 2010, government funding for early help services across welfare, social care and children’s services in England fell from £3.2bn to £1.4bn in 2015, while early indications suggest cuts will continue throughout 2015-16.

The report, from two children’s charities, also found that over the same period spending on children’s centres and support services for children and families has fallen by almost a quarter (24%).

Wide ranging consensus

Only support for troubled families is likely to remain stable or increase, the report found. Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said that these cuts will impact the lives of vulnerable children.

“Before making more cuts, government needs to think again,” she said. “It should work with councils to gain a better understanding of how services have been reconfigured and commit to fund early intervention provision that makes a dramatic difference.”

She added there is a wide ranging consensus among politicians in central and local government that early intervention is a far better use of resources, but funding for early help has been substantially reduced.

£17bn cost of not acting

Taxpayers spend almost £17bn a year on dealing with the consequences of social problems affecting children and young people, according to Carey Oppenheim, chief executive of the Early Intervention Foundation.

“The total spending on late intervention and its social and economic consequences is far greater. Government needs to recognise that investing in early intervention will not only improve the lives of families and children, but will help balance the nation’s books.”

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