With Stock­port manager Sarah Cook...


AC­CORD­ING to a new re­port, deal­ing with acute fu­ture so­cial prob­lems af­fect­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple in Eng­land and Wales costs £17bn a year of public money, of that, £5bn is spent each year on chil­dren in care.

That’s why here at Home-Start, we be­lieve that early in­ter­ven­tion is the key to stop­ping fam­ily is­sues spi­ralling out of con­trol and reach­ing the point where statu­tory ser­vices get in­volved.

Deal­ing with what are re­ferred to as ‘trou­bled fam­i­lies’ or ‘bro­ken Bri­tain’, front­line ser­vices are called in to ad­dress is­sues that are of­ten en­trenched in a fam­ily’s life or the com­mu­nity in which they live.

Th­ese fam­i­lies have in­ter­gen­er­a­tional prob­lems such as workless­ness, lack of ba­sic par­ent­ing skills and ne­glect.

Th­ese are costly, re­ac­tive ser­vices. For many fam­i­lies, you can catch them be­fore they fall, with in­vest­ment in an early in­ter­ven­tion ap­proach.

Early in­ter­ven­tion is a proven, cost-ef­fec­tive de­liv­ery model, which can pre­vent cri­sis and fam­ily break­down and pro­tect both a vul­ner­a­ble child and a par­ent that’s suf­fer­ing in si­lence.

It paves the way for a mum or dad to par­ent their child in the best way.

In Greater Manch­ester many fam­i­lies will be re­ceiv­ing Home-Start sup­port, but for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Aside from poverty, there are nu­mer­ous other is­sues af­fect­ing a par­ent’s abil­ity to cope.

Such is­sues have no re­la­tion­ship to class, cul­ture or so­cial po­si­tion – do­mes­tic abuse, post natal de­pres­sion, re­la­tion­ship break­down can af­fect any­one and all have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on a child’s early life and cause a par­ent to need early in­ter­ven­tion sup­port.

What our vol­un­teers do, and do well, is sup­port a fam­ily long be­fore their prob­lems have be­come so com­plex that ex­pen­sive agen­cies need to get in­volved.

Home-Start sup­port works be­cause it’s tai­lor-made to each fam­ily’s needs. It’s de­liv­ered in a prac­ti­cal and or emo­tional, non-judge­men­tal way, em­pow­er­ing a fam­ily to start make more pos­i­tive choices for their chil­dren.

If more fund­ing and in­vest­ment is given to char­i­ties such as HomeS­tart, then we may find one day that that £17bn bill of public money may start to re­duce.

To find out more about vol­un­teer­ing with Hone-Start, visit www. home-start.org.uk or call 0800 068 63 68.

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