I received the April edition of Therapy Today and it was interesting to note that the BACP is a member of the Early Intervention Foundation Consortium organised by Labour MP Graham Allen to drive forward his recommendations to improve outcomes for children and young people.
Mr Graham Allen in the summer launched his second report on behalf of HMG on Early Intervention: Smart Investment, Massive Savings. The first report Early Intervention: the next steps was published in January, 2011 underlined that many of the costly and damaging social problems for individuals can be eliminated or reduced by giving children and parents the right type of evidence based programmes 0-18 and especially in their earliest years.
The second report sets out how we can pay for those programmes within existing resources and by attracting new non government money.
The key recommendations are that:
- Government sets out as a policy objective that all babies, children and young people should have the social and emotional bedrock essential for their future development and their ability to make effective life choices
- Government leadership and co-ordination must improve ,not least through an Early Intervention Task and Finish Group made up of experts from across Government departments which will establish ,measure and progress-chase Early Intervention outcomes
- The expected “Families and the Foundation Stage” statement must include regular and purposeful assessments for the 0-5s to help spot and correct dysfunction early
- An independent Early Intervention Foundation is set up to promote Early Intervention, spread best evidence based policies and complement the work being done inside Government.
- The Prime Minister is called upon to challenge private, local and philanthropic sources to co-fund with government a £20 million endowment to sustain the Foundation
- We must be more creative in bringing additional non-government money to investment in Early Intervention and that payment by results through outcome based contracts is promoted and funded from within existing budgets.
- As part of building a social finance market we should establish an ‘Early Intervention Fund’ or Funds to raise around £200 million of private investment.
- HM Treasury should commission a thorough review of Early Intervention growth incentives ahead of the 2012 Budget.
It seems sensible to me that providing early intervention measures is of critical importance to breaking the inter-generational cycle of many of the social problems that the country is facing these days. Improving outcomes for children who have had a difficult start in life can help them to meet their hopes and ambitions. The question now is will the Government support the measures.