Early Intervention: Supporting and Strengthening Families

Early Intervention: Supporting and Strengthening Families

Early Intervention: Supporting and Strengthening Families

Early Intervention: Supporting and Strengthening Families


Early investment in vulnerable families, both in terms of the timing of early support or at the onset of issues, is more effective and cheaper than specialist support which is offered only once problems become complex. One of the best ways to keep children safe is to develop innovative ways of enhancing the quality of help received by families, to redesign services around children and families' needs, and to provide an early help through better inter-agency working. This book examines early intervention policy across the UK and promising practice initiatives which have been designed to support vulnerable families.


As Allen (2011) points out there is nothing new about the concept of intervening at an early stage to try and prevent problems emerging at a later date:

It is an old adage that prevention is better than cure. The
philosophy is enshrined in old folk wisdoms – an ounce
of prevention is better than a pound of cure; a stitch in
time saves nine; a good beginning makes a good ending.
The classic public health definition of ‘primary prevention’
refers to interventions that ward off the initial onset of a
disorder, i.e. intervening before damage takes place in a
way that avoids the later costs in both human and financial
terms of handling the consequences of the symptoms of that
damage (Allen, 2011, p. 5).

The Early Intervention Foundation website offers a useful definition of Early Intervention (EI) in relation to policy and practice in children’s services:

Early Intervention is about addressing the root causes of
social disadvantage, ensuring that everyone is able to realise
their full potential by developing the range of skills we all
need to thrive. It is about getting extra, effective and timely
interventions to all babies, children and young people who
need them, allowing them to flourish and preventing harm
ful and costly long-term consequences.

Early intervention should not just occur at an early age; it should take place at an early stage whenever difficulties might arise in the lives of children and young people. It is about providing an integrated . . .

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