Chris Mahony 18 July 2022

Early intervention cuts trigger crisis interventions

Early intervention cuts trigger crisis interventions image
Image: Sabphoto / Shutterstock.com

Councils, young people and families are trapped in a ‘vicious cycle’ due to the halving of investment in early intervention over the last decade, the largest children’s charities have warned.

Data prepared by Pro Bono Economics revealed that local government investment in early intervention in England halved in real terms in the decade from 2010-11 – triggering a 75% rise in more expensive crisis interventions such as taking children into care.

The report found spending on crisis and late intervention services soared by more than a third (37%) over the decade - from £6bn to £8.2bn (in 2020-21 prices).

This was fuelled by a 24% rise in the number of children in care to almost 80,000, costing an extra £1.3bn in 2020-21.

These services consumed just over 80% of local authority children’s social care spending – compared to 58% in 2010-11.

After a low point of £9.4bn in 2016-17, total children’s services spending recovered to reach £10.2bn in 2020-21 – an 8% increase.

However, most of that boost – and more recent increases – has been directed to late intervention services.

The analysis found that some of the biggest cuts have been in the most deprived communities.

Chief executive of The Children’s Society, Mark Russell, said: ‘Young people have told us they felt they needed to get hurt or harm someone in order be taken seriously.

'It’s a big concern that children in deprived areas, where needs may be greatest, are often among those least likely to get help before problems spiral out of control.’

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