A new report has warned that children will remain trapped in the same cycles of deprivation as their parents unless authorities intervene earlier. Action for Children has issued the document to encourage investment in authorities and services that can take early action.
The report, ‘Deprivation and Risk: The Case for Early Intervention’ argues that deprivation is not just the result of low incomes but is linked to factors such as education, health and housing. These, it says, cannot be solved simply by increasing what families earn. To underline its belief that deprivation runs in families, the charity has published a number of case studies.
Dame Clare Tickell, the organisation’s chief executive, said there was mounting evidence for early intervention as the solution to tackling deprivation. “We must understand deprivation as the complex issue it is, and stop focusing on fiscal solutions alone, if we want to break intergenerational and deep rooted deprivation,” she said.
One case study tells the story of a woman who is now 21 but whose parents started taking heroin when she was nine. Her turbulent home life led to her doing badly at school and she was excluded twice and started self harming. She had two unsuccessful foster placements before she was referred to Action for Children and placed with a successful foster family who are still part of her life. The report says intervention in her case highlights how the cycle can be broken.
Dame Clare added: “The current political rhetoric on families and children needs to be turned into action so that all children, particularly the most vulnerable and neglected, have good childhoods, good school experiences and good health.”