“My granny used to say that ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. This old adage certainly applies to early intervention in tackling problems in the lives of children, parents and families. However in times of austerity and cut backs it can be tempting to reduce early intervention services such as Home-Start.
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“I believe (and research shows) that this is short sighted both in terms of finances and human cost. If children and families receive effective help and support at a time when things are beginning to go wrong the need for costly crisis services later on will be reduced. Removing early intervention services is a very short term solution to balancing the books. Addressing the root causes of problems when they first appear reduces the number of families who will later need expensive statutory services. Later services are sadly less likely to be effective as problems may have become large and entrenched. This can lead to families going round and round the revolving door of high end costly services.
“To our charity, it makes more sense to spend a small amount now to support a family with young children – before their problems escalate. The alternative is to to keep on spending “£17 billion per year on addressing damaging problems that affect children and young people such as mental health problems, going into care, dropping out of school, unemployment and youth crime” (source: EIF).
“Early intervention helps to break the intergenerational pattern of disadvantage and dysfunction and prevents children having to be taken into care with subsequent poor outcomes to the child and high cost to the public purse. Councils like Central Bedfordshire and other bodies who continue to invest in their early intervention services are thinking of the long term good of our children and society as a whole.” – Linda Johnson, Home-Start Central Bedfordshire CEO.