Minister commits to greater use of prevention and early intervention to tackle disadvantage
Prevention and Early Intervention Network welcomes plan to better integrate child and family services
A government commitment to better integrate services and supports for children and families, including greater use of prevention and early intervention, has been welcomed by a Network of more than 50 community organisations.
Speaking at the AGM of the Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN), Chairperson Marian Quinn called on the Government to accelerate a change in the State’s approach to addressing inequality and disadvantage – by shifting from crisis response, to greater use of prevention and early intervention (PEI).
The AGM was addressed by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman who outlined the Government’s commitment to developing an improved continuum of care for children and families, noting the important role of prevention and early intervention.
“It is vital that all children and families – and most particularly those who experience marginalisation and disadvantage – receive the supports they need, when and where they need them. This requires an integrated and systemic approach, where prevention and early intervention are key. I am committed to my Department leading this process”, said Minister O’Gorman.
PEIN welcomed the Minister’s comments and said it would work with Government to identify, progress and monitor steps which can be taken to transition to greater application of PEI.
Marian Quinn said: “PEIN is calling for the re-vitalising of the Prevention and Early Intervention Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) to plan and track a transition in policy and funding from crisis response to PEI.
“Each year future funding should progressively transition towards approaches which are proven to be effective and preventative, instead of those which are both less effective and more costly.
“All of the Irish evidence and global experience shows that prevention and early intervention strategies are more effective at reducing social inequality and related problems. It is also the most cost-effective use of limited State resources,” she said.
The National Economic and Social Forum in Ireland has identified a return on investment of up to €7 for every €1 invested. UK studies have shown a return of an average of £4 per £1 spent. In the US studies have shown a return of up to $18 per $1.
Marian Quinn said that COVID-19 has increased the use of evidence and data to make swift and responsive public health decisions at Government level – and this approach should also be applied in programmes and initiatives which tackle social disadvantage and aim to improve outcomes for children.
“It has been a period of extraordinary challenge, part of a legacy of this pandemic can be positive if it reorientates and strengthens our focus on using a ‘what works’ rigour to social policy and funding decisions.”
More information on the Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) is available at: www.pein.ie
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731 / email@example.com
The Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) brings together more than 50 evidence-based practice, advocacy and research organisations seeking to improve outcomes for children, young people and families and to promote quality in prevention and early intervention.
Prevention is defined as ‘providing a protective layer of support to stop problems from arising in the first place or from getting worse’; early intervention is defined as ‘providing support at the earliest possible stages when problems occur’