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Why early intervention is the answer

A recent study has suggested that dealing with social problems affecting children and young people in England and Wales ‘costs £17bn a year’.

Some of the cash would be better spent on addressing the root causes of problems, argues the report by the charity Early Intervention Foundation.

One of the key benefits of ECINS is that it enables co-ordinated action to be taken earlier in all cases at a local level. The system was designed with the principle that prevention would not only save the public sector money but also transform children’s lives by providing a platform for effective early intervention.

The researchers analysed official statistics on the costs of addressing social problems including mental health issues, going into care, unemployment and youth crime.

  • some £5bn is spent each year on children in care
  • £4bn on benefits for 18- to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training
  • £900m on helping young people with mental health issues or drug and alcohol problems, say the authors.

Local authorities bear the largest share of these costs at £6.5bn while welfare spending is £3.7bn. The NHS, schools, police and the criminal justice system also share the bill.

The study argues that the focus should shift “from picking up the pieces to giving everyone the best start in life”, and agencies must co-ordinate services better, “to put those most in need at the centre”, avoiding duplication and waste.

“We urgently need to reform how funding is allocated across local services to encourage joint working and savings to encourage investment in early intervention that shifts the balance from crisis spend towards prevention.” said Councillor David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board.

ECINS CEO and Founder Gary Pettengell said “there has never been a better time for local authorities and their partners to improve their joint working capabilities in this area. By creating an environment where agencies can come together, collaborate and securely share information they can deliver positive outcomes.

ECINS enables practitioners to quickly and easily check to see if a child or family is receiving support. You can task agencies, raise concerns and upload supporting documents allowing everyone to properly work in partnership and deliver effective early intervention in a co-ordinated way that achieves results.”

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