We will shortly publish a document on early intervention to help local authorities and their partners, working in children’s trusts and elsewhere, to improve the quality and consistency of the support that they offer to vulnerable children and families.
In an era when politicians are criticised for not thinking long term, may I congratulate the Government on their far-sightedness in setting up an early intervention unit in the Department and on bringing forward a Green Paper on early intervention? Does my right hon. Friend agree that a social and emotional bedrock is the foundation of all attainment for babies, children and young people, and that we should continue to support it and ensure that it is spread as far as humanly possible, particularly in deprived constituencies such as mine?
I agree with my hon. Friend. Not only do we know that shifting to early intervention can provide value for money, in terms of the costs to the individual, the family and the community at a later stage, but the evidence base clearly shows that intervening early is a particular help to children’s development and their ability to learn. Therefore, it is incumbent on us all to look again at how services are delivered, looking for that innovation and ensuring that we build that early intervention.
What assessment has been made of the impact of the recession on preventive services?
All local authorities have considered the position since the recession and the impact on services. If we look in particular at children’s services and the availability of child care facilities, both through childminders and otherwise, we see that, thankfully, excellent children’s services continue to be provided, giving children the very best start in life, thanks to the extra investment that this Government continue to put into those services.