Early support is a practical way of helping children and families to help themselves and overcome problems before they start.

It means services to support new parents, help toddlers develop, educate young people, improve the well-being of teenagers or tackle the signs of abuse and neglect as early as possible.

Along with National Children’s Bureau and The Children’s Society, we examined just how much money has been allocated for services that step in before problems escalate to crisis point.

What did we find?

Funding for these services is coming under greater pressure than ever before.

Between 2010 and 2020, government funding for early intervention services will fall 71 per cent.

This drop has knock on effects. Since 2010, spending by local councils on children’s centres is down by a half and young people’s services down nearly a third.

Uncertainty about future funding poses some real problems for the councillors who have to make our local books balance.

Six in ten local councillors believe that the reduction in central government funding will mean a reduction in early intervention services in their local authority.

With competing priorities and less money there are tough choices to make. But early intervention services have their backers.

Nine in ten councillors believe that services which intervene early are a high priority for their local authority.

What needs to happen?

We want the government to:

  • Commit to annual ‘early intervention’ top ups for local authorities, determined by local need, to ensure councils have the resources they need.
  • Work with councils to better understand how funding is being spent on the ground.

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