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31 January 2013
'Early action' could result in better outcomes for children and families as well as savings for the public purse, according to today's report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The findings offer further evidence of the benefits of early help, which Action for Children knows - from 140 years' experience - is vital if vulnerable families are to have a chance of changing their behaviour and preventing problems such as neglect from escalating.
The NAO's report comes at a time when the coalition government's commitment to early help has been piecemeal, with already-stretched services being forced to focus on crisis intervention rather than more cost effective preventative measures.
Yet this week sees the Welsh National Assembly announce a local authority duty to provide early help, preventative services to overcome child neglect.
Helen Donohoe, Action for Children's Directory of Public Policy, said,"How many more reports need to provide indisputable evidence that early help works for children, families and society as a whole before early help is given the emphasis it deserves?
"Without effective and timely interventions we will never break intergenerational cycles. The Welsh National Assembly is leading the way by ensuring there is a robust framework of services in place to support families as soon as issues are identified. The coalition government needs to translate its early help commitment into practice, putting measures in place to ensure vulnerable children receive effective, appropriate support at the earliest opportunity."