The past decade has seen increased recognition of the importance of intervening earlier in the lives of disadvantaged children and young people to improve the chances of averting poor outcomes - whether that be in health, education or social development.
Initially thought of as activity that took place with the under-fives, the concept of early help has evolved to incorporate working with children and young people of any age and using preventative approaches in social care, youth work and youth justice settings.
The increased focus by policymakers - kick-started by Graham Allen's Early Intervention, the next steps report in 2011 - led to the creation in 2013 of the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), a what works centre that aims to identify evidence-based approaches to early help and support councils and other public bodies to share and implement best practice.
However, as knowledge of the benefits of early help has increased, the amount of money public bodies have to develop and implement such approaches locally has fallen.
CYP Now's special report on early help examines latest research on early intervention services, the key policies developed to support children and young people at risk of poor outcomes, and examples of local approaches created to improve their life chances.
Click on the links for more:
Research evidence by Priya Patel, policy, research and public affairs assistant at The Children's Society:
- Children and Young People's Services: Funding and Spending 2010/11 to 2017/18
- Intensive Interventions Suitable for Children on the Edge of Care: Report and Recommendations for Social Finance
- Children's Health and Development: Approaches to Early Identification and Intervention
- Youth Work in the UK (England)