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Early intervention can be defined in a number of ways and can take a variety of different forms. In essence, it means social policy approaches that attempt to identify and provide effective early support to children and young people who are at risk of poor outcomes. Advocates for early intervention contend this proactive support can help to prevent a number of problems that children may encounter in later life, such as deprivation and disadvantage. A range of studies have pointed toward the efficacy of early intervention across different spheres, including reducing health inequalities, economic disadvantage and a lack of social mobility.

Consecutive UK governments have pursued early intervention policies, which often cut across areas. To examine them, this briefing focuses on:

  • health;
  • educational development and childcare; and
  • societal developments and benefit entitlements.

It also details notable recent policy announcements, such as the publication of the Department for Education’s plan for tackling social mobility through education, Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential, in December 2017, and the reaction to it. Given the breadth of policy areas involved, this briefing focuses on early intervention initiative in England.


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