Early Intervention in Childrens Services

Topics: Sociology, Social Issues, Social exclusion Pages: 6 (2219 words) Published: April 30, 2012
Analyse why there is a policy emphasis on Early Intervention in children's services. What are the implications of this for different types of services for children, young people and families? This essay will begin by explaining what social policy is, briefly identifying the history behind it. In order to demonstrate why there is a policy emphasis on Early Intervention, there will be a focus on the underpinning values and assumptions of the different political parties, whilst analysing factors that influence social policy such as media influence, social constructions of children, young people and families, government spending and evidence based research. The implications of this on different types of services will be examined by identifying the impact of early intervention on priority funding, restructuring and retraining workforces and stigmatisation. Also different government priorities and varying implications on the same service provisions across the UK will be considered, as well as the effects of labelling and exclusion resulting from early intervention. Finally the diversity of children's experiences will be discussed. Social policy deals with social issues, through local and national government guidelines, principles and legislation. Therefore politics influences social policy, which determines the services of our welfare state. The post-war 1942 Beveridge Report was significant in developing social policy in the UK with the introduction of health reforms based on universality and the ideology of a social democratic welfare state. Fundamentally the state took responsibility for the welfare of children and families. Conservatives were in power from 1979-1997, during which they sought to change public reliance on the state through encouraging them to take more responsibility for their own welfare, by reducing the provision of state services. When Labour came in to power in 1997, they attempted to find a balance between state and market provision. At the end of power in 2010, New Labour left a legacy in a major development of social policy, that being Early Intervention in children's services.There is a policy emphasis on early intervention in children's services due to underpinning government values which affect how resources are distributed and who in society is deemed to need these resources. New Labour's value in the child as 'citizen-worker-of-the-future' (Lister,2003) influenced their social policies, which prioritised early intervention as a more preventative, long term solution to social problems such as crime, unemployment and poverty. For example, the introduction of the Green Paper, Every Child Matters(ECM), an initiative formed to improve children's lives, shaping the EYFS curriculum to ensure 'every child's right to grow up safe; healthy; enjoying and achieving; making a positive contribution; and with economic well-being'(DfES,2008). This portrays how social policy contributes to shaping children's lives and why there is an emphasis on early intervention, for example, the need for children and families to understand the value of education in the wider world will be advantageous to their development and future. As highlighted in MP Graham Allens (2011) Early Intervention report discussed in Appendix 1, it was believed that such initiatives would establish a 'healthy social and emotional development in infancy' and therefore would break the 'intergenerational cycle of dysfunction and under-achievement'. (Department for Work and Pensions,2009 in Appendix1) Therefore it could be said that early intervention policies do not take the 'wider social structural context' into consideration. This indicates how the media is indirectly responsible for shaping social policy, through influencing thoughts about support and services affecting children, young people and families. For example, the introduction of ECM and the Children Act 2004, a legislative base for many reforms, focussed on improving professional support...
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