Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are backing the Foundation, with party leaders Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg providing their endorsements.
The foundation has been set up in response to two independent reports for the Government by Labour MP Graham Allen on the importance of early intervention in tackling the causes of social and emotional problems in babies, children and young people.
Its establishment is part of a drive from across the political spectrum to target social problems early on to save taxpayers’ money in the longterm.
The Government has estimated that the cost of providing support to 120,000 ‘troubled families’ in England is £9 billion a year in public services, based on the cost of providing health visitors, social services, job centre staff, housing officers, drug and alcohol teams, and others.
It will provide a single source of independent assessment, expert advice and advocacy on early intervention measures for Government, commissioners and others.
The foundation has written to every clinical commissioning group, who now run local health services, council leaders and police crime commissioners to ask them to become one of the first 20 Early Intervention Places.
In February, the Government awarded the foundation start-up funding of £3.5 million over two years. Full-time staff are currently being recruited and the foundation should be fully operational by 1 July.
David Cameron said, ‘I am committed to improving the life chances of every child, but especially those who come from troubled backgrounds. We need plans for early intervention that are based on robust evidence of what works and that is why Graham’s work has been so important and why I welcome the launch of the foundation. I look forward to seeing the foundation get to work, not only assessing which programmes make a difference but giving people working in this field clear and practical advice about where money can be most effectively spent. ‘
The chair of the Early Intervention Foundation, Graham Allen MP, said, ‘With great maturity and long-sightedness, all parties have supported the drive towards early intervention and the creation of an independent foundation to promote it. An enormous family of supporters have helped to deliver this major step forward. Now the serious work begins on delivering our three A’s -Assessment, Advice and Advocacy of Early Intervention.’
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, ‘Early intervention is vital for social mobility, now in the new foundation we have an instrument to deliver good evidence, spread best practice and argue the case for it. As Graham’s reports to HMG confirmed we have always known that Early Intervention is cheaper and more effective than waiting to tackle problems after they have taken root. The difficulty has often been finding the right mechanisms to draw in the necessary investment early enough in the life cycle, as well as reliably predict and capture the savings. The Early Intervention Foundation will fill that gap, it will tell the truth to power, provide a wealth of ideas on how to plug this financing gap, and will be a spur to action both inside and outside Government.’
The leader of the opposition Ed Miliband said, ‘I want to congratulate Graham Allen for building such a broad coalition of interests to bring the Foundation to life. This has to be about everyone playing their part so I am delighted that the private sector, philanthropic foundations, mutuals, charities and individuals are contributing, alongside the public sector, to fund successful Early Intervention programmes.’