Irish Penal Reform Trust

England & Wales: Government launches review into the effectiveness of early intervention

28th July 2010

The government has launched an independent review into how early intervention projects can improve the lives of the UK's most vulnerable children. Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and children’s minister Sarah Teather have confirmed in a joint statement that the review will be chaired by Labour MP Graham Allen.

The review will look at ways children’s professionals can better support children’s social and emotional needs and "break the cycles of underachievement which blight some of our poorest communities".

Examples of successful schemes will be looked at. The review will also look at funding early intervention schemes in "innovative ways" rather than government funding, their statement adds. Allen said: "I have insisted that this work be strictly independent and the lessons shared with all parties. If early intervention is to be a success it must last a generation and, therefore, has to be owned and sustained by all parties."

The review is the first major piece of work to emerge from the Cabinet’s social justice committee, which is chaired by Duncan Smith. Allen will produce an interim report in January 2011 detailing case studies of successful schemes and recommendations on funding. A final report will be published in May next year.

Teather added: "Intervening earlier with troubled families can not only prevent children and their parents falling into a cycle of deprivation, anti-social behaviour and poverty but can save thousands if not millions of pounds in the longer term."

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