The Hands Up For Children Campaign calls for €90m investment in Early Intervention

Call for major €90m investment in Prevention and Early Intervention

Network calls for much greater focus on prevention in child and family services

Organisations delivering prevention and early intervention services to children and families have called for a major €90m investment in the sector in 2017.

In a Pre-budget Submission, the Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) also called for a significant re-organisation of child and family services towards preventative approaches which are evidence based.

Current state funding of prevention and early intervention programmes – which provide additional parenting, education and health supports in communities of greatest need – is €5m per annum and PEIN called for this to be significantly increased by 300% to €20m.

PEIN’s submission also called for a major investment in preventative social and health services for children and families including: universal access to parenting programmes during pregnancy and throughout childhood, creation of a Child and Family Public Health Nursing service (€6m), recruiting of 100 additional community midwives (€4.2m), increasing the budget of Tusla by 5% (€33.8m) for prevention and early intervention services – and the recruitment of an additional 100 Speech and Language Therapists (€5.5m).

PEIN Chair Marian Quinn said there is very strong evidence on the highly positive impact of investment in children’s early development and parenting supports in communities of greatest need – and a long term perspective is needed from Government.

“Since 2007 we have developed a weight of evidence from programmes and services that have been designed and evaluated in Ireland. We have a suite approaches ready to be delivered which we know will break inter-generational cycles and deliver better outcomes.”

The Network welcomed strong commitments in the Programme for a Partnership Government to invest in preventative approaches, including to establish a dedicated Prevention and Early Intervention Unit.

“The Government has an opportunity in this Budget to establish the Unit which would provide a centrepoint to plan, track and proof policy to ensure that there is a systems change towards prevention. We recommend a budget of €20m to establish the Unit and resource it to drive transformation across social, health, education and justice services,” Ms Quinn said.

Ms. Quinn said that while significant investment is being called for, it makes very strong economic sense: “Research in Ireland has suggested that every €1 invested in prevention and early intervention saves the State €4 in the long term (research in Ballymun). The National Economic and Social Forum has stated a return on investment of 1:4-7 in Ireland. International evidence has rated this return to be £9 for every £1 invested (UK) and even up $18 for every $1 (USA).

“Investing in prevention and early intervention will ultimately save the State in terms of economic and social cost”, she said.

PEIN also welcomed that Prevention and Early Intervention is a central component in the current development of 10 Year Health Strategy which is being Chaired by Deputy Roisín Shorthall.

Further Information

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731 / ronan@cavanaghcommunications.ie.

For the full pre-budget submission call, or email Ronan Cavanagh.

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