Early interference


The Early Intervention Foundation turns one

It should really have been drowned at birth.

One of the most important things authorities can do is have good data sharing practices in place between teams and other agencies. This is essential to their ability to identify the most vulnerable children and families and get the right help in place sooner to change their lives.

However, staff in some authorities have told me that there can be a level of nervousness around when it is “right” to share data and how it can be used to inform better decision making in the delivery of early help.

Getting this right is the key to the success of early intervention schemes.
The continuing work of organisations such as the Early Intervention Foundation will be critical in driving the early intervention agenda forward and breaking down the barriers to the delivery of early help.
Also sprach the MD of 'Capita Children's Services' - an oxymoron if ever there was one.
Perhaps the Early Intervention/ Interference Foundation should read this latest report on the absolutely dire Birmingham Social Services:

Birmingham - Inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers

8. There is a widespread lack of understanding about thresholds in and between children’s social care services and their partners. This, combined with a lack of confidence in decision making, undermines any attempt to improve the quality of services. Children and young people have been left at risk of harm for too long before being protected by the care system. Timely decisions are not taken when children and young people need to be cared for by the local authority.

45. When children and young people need statutory social work intervention, they do not experience good help and support from the Information and Advice Support Service (IASS). There is a lack of clarity and understanding about the threshold for referral to children’s social care. The absence of qualified social workers in the IASS team means that children do not benefit from a timely response from children’s services. Social work advice is not readily available to partners to help them make decisions as to whether to refer children to social care, nor to determine the right level and support for children. The quality of referrals by partner agencies to children’s social care is not good enough and the significant number of inappropriate referrals to the service results in referral and advice officers having to undertake extensive work to establish the level and nature of concerns about children. unable to respond in a timely way to the persistently high level of demand.
But also the MASH arrangements, i.e. earlier information sharing, are not seen as the solution:

110. The local authority’s efforts to improve the Information and Advice Support Service (IASS) have been ineffective, and the service remains not fit for purpose. The proposal to replace the IASS with a multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH), without addressing some of the fundamental challenges that affect almost all aspects of the contact and referral system, means that it is unlikely that any replacement would have significant prospects for success. Partners fail to take responsibility for their actions in respect of child protection and this is reflected in the poor quality of referrals and the lack of consistent and sustained contributions to joint working. These difficulties undermine any attempt to improve the quality of services to children and young people.
What they need to do is sort out the inappropriate referrals (or, to put it another way, educate people to stop referring inappropriately . . . ) and get the workload down.

And that's the whole point the 'early intervention' brigade fail to understand. It's a completely theoretical notion that the state can identify every single little problem in a child's life and put it right. Look how difficult it is to get the serious issues dealt with. Start dipping into families that have 'low level' problems and you will so overload 'services' that the hard stuff gets missed.

But when a system does get overloaded do we hear the 'early interventionists' call for less intervention? No! They just cry - but we need more early intervention . . . :puke: