Crime Reduction

23.07.19

London survey shows effective approach to helping vulnerable kids

New research from London Councils highlights the life-changing impact early intervention has on the most vulnerable young people in the capital.

The umbrella group’s evaluation of children’s social care and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision in the capital points to the value of investing in preventative services that stem future demand for more expensive services.

Several boroughs are investing in expert SEND practitioners who help schools maintain children with more challenging needs in a mainstream setting. There are also boroughs targeting early help for children considered to be at risk of poor outcomes such as gang affiliation and becoming victims or perpetrators of crime, providing support to their families and pre-empting the need for costly interventions.    

London Councils’ key research findings include:

  • There is strong evidence from across London that boroughs’ good-quality early intervention services prevent needs escalating and lead to better outcomes for children and young people.
  • In SEND, there has been a dramatic and sustained rise in demand for support brought about by a very rapid increase in children and young people with Education Health and Care Plans (up 31% from 2014/15 to 2017/18).
  • In children’s social care, the overspend in 2017/18 was £108 million – with the increased complexity of children’s needs and use of specialist care placements believed to be among the factors explaining the rapidly rising costs.  

Cllr Nickie Aiken, London Councils’ Executive Member for Schools & Children’s Services, said: “The value of preventative services shines through these research findings, both in terms of positive impact on the lives of London’s most vulnerable children and young people and helping boroughs manage costs.

“When children and families aren’t getting the right support at the right time, the effects can be disastrous – leaving children and young people vulnerable to family breakdown and involvement in youth crime.

“London boroughs are committed to early intervention as the most cost-effective approach in the long term with the best results for children and families. However, we’re working in a context of fast-rising levels of demand for services.”

 

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