Nottingham ‘Early Intervention City’ project shows benefits of early investment and services
A Network of 33 organisations has called for investment and stronger policy for early intervention – after the success of this approach in Nottingham was highlighted at a conference today.
Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) Chairperson Marian Quinn said generational cycles of disadvantage could be broken for thousands of children and families in Ireland by developing more comprehensive approaches to early intervention.
The conference heard from Nottingham City Council Assistant Chief Executive Candida Brudenell who presented the experience of launching and then developing Nottingham as the UKs first Early Intervention City.
“In 2008 we set out with a 20 year outlook to develop a city-wide partnership with all major social, health and education authorities coming together to apply early intervention approaches. Working together the city was able to secure funding, implement a wide range of approaches and measure its impact. We initially had a budget of £4m per annum, but this evolved after we applied for and secured £45m in National Lottery funding in 2014.
“The shared focus across Nottingham is to work intensively with 0-3 year olds and their families to support social and emotional development, communication and language, nutrition and to affect overall system change.”
Ms Brudenell said the outcomes of this work over the past 10 years have been: “Ongoing improvement in Nottingham’s national ranking on the percentage of children who are ‘school ready’; a reduction in Teenage Pregnancy rates (15-17 year old girls) from 72.4/1000 to 31/1000 and a cost of £10m on Children in Care placements has been saved.”
Marian Quinn said that politicians and policy makers in Ireland should also take a long-term view in order to deliver greater policy and investment which reaps the benefits of prevention and early intervention.
“Research in Ireland has suggested that every €1 invested in prevention and early intervention saves the State €4 in the long term. The National Economic and Social Forum has stated a return on investment of €4-7 for every €1 invested. UK studies have ranged a return on investment of £1.40 to £9 with an average of £4. In the US studies have ranged from a long-term return of $1.30 up to $18.
“PEIN is calling on policy makers and politicians to recognise the evidence which points towards significant further development of the sector. We know that this will benefit children, families and communities and is a better investment for the tax payer than reactive and crises services,” she said.
The conference was also addressed by Dr. Fiachra Kennedy from the Prevention and Early Intervention Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER). Dr. Kennedy spoke about the consultation process being undertaken by the Prevention and Early Intervention Unit, and their plans to track Government spending across services.
PEIN today launched a new website at www.pein.ie where information on prevention and early intervention in Ireland can be accessed.
To develop the impact of prevention and early intervention PEIN also recommended:
- An increase in the number of early intervention staff in community settings (including speech and language therapists, child psychologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists) to reduce waiting lists and make these supports available to all families who need them in a timely manner.
- The creation of a dedicated Child and Family Community Nursing service to provide greater supports to all children and parents from pregnancy to the early years.
- State funding of targeted prevention and early intervention programmes to be significantly increased.
- Universal access to parenting programmes during pregnancy and throughout childhood
- Ring fence a dedicated budget in Tusla for the provision of preventative services.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731 / [email protected]
The Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) represents 33 organisations which are working to improve outcomes for children and families, with a focus on prevention and early intervention approaches. www.pein.ie