Snapshot: the cost of late intervention with children

The cost of late intervention with children

Failures in the parenting and protecting of children do not only have a social cost, they also have an economic cost. They lead to worklessness in adults, mental health problems, crime, anti-social behaviour, substance misuse, violence and injury (including from domestic violence) and school absences and exclusion.

That cost – in England and Wales alone – comes to £16.6bn a year, according to the Early Intervention Foundation, which lobbies for action at a young age to prevent children going on the wrong track.

Carey Oppenheim, chief executive of the Early Intervention Foundation says: “Late intervention is not just expensive, it is also difficult to argue it is money spent well. It rarely turns lives around, as seen in recidivism rates for young offenders and poor transitions to adulthood for children in care. What these figures represent is merely the immediate impact on the taxpayer of thousands of lives blighted by thwarted potential and missed opportunities. The human and social costs are far greater.”

The main costs of late interventions:

Child protection and safeguarding: £6.0bn

Crime and anti-social behaviour: £5.2bn

Youth economic inactivity: £3.7bn

Of these costs, £6.5bn is borne by local government, £3.7bn by the welfare budget, £3.0bn by the NHS and £1.3bn by the Department of Justice.

Source: Spending on Late Intervention: How we can do better for less, published by the Early Intervention Foundation

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