PSYCHOTHERAPY AT 5 TO STOP TIDE OF CRIMINAL KIDS; EXCLUSIVE Shrinks for 2.8m Children It's Cheaper Than Custody Revealed: Government's Shock New Idea to Halt Tearaways

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Byline: By NIGEL NELSON Political Editor

KIDS as young as five could get their own shrinks to prevent a new wave of youngsters being sucked into crime.

Ministers are considering the radical, multi-billion pound plan revealed in a report out today.

Psychotherapy for 2.8MILLION children aged five to 12 would cost between pounds 100 and pounds 2,500 a time.

But report author Julia Margo said: "It will provide loads of savings in the long term. It will be much cheaper than the pounds 50,000 a year it now costs to lock up a young offender.

"The evidence shows the most prolific criminals start offending between the ages of 10 and 13.

"This plan would target kids and families who are at the highest risk of turning into offenders later in life."

Risk

The idea - called Sure Start Plus - comes from Labour's top think tank, the influential Institute for Public Policy Research.

Local authority social services departments would be responsible for ensuring that every child needing a therapist would see one. The therapy would include:

SESSIONS to get children and their parents to communicate better with each other.

TREATMENT for the impulsiveness and personality disorders that lead kids into bad behaviour.

SPECIAL programmes to catch children with difficulties early to help them read and write before leaving primary school.

The youngsters at risk of turning to crime would be identified by teachers and GPs. …