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Cost of problems affecting children, young persons and families calculated at £17 billion

Early Intervention Foundation publishes annual analysis

The cost of picking up the pieces from damaging social problems affecting children, young people and families such as domestic violence, mental health, child abuse and neglect, unemployment and youth crime remains almost £17 billion a year, new research shows.

The headline figure, equivalent to £287 per person in England and Wales, remains stubbornly around the level found last year although the cost breakdown has changed, according to new analysis by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) charity.

Particularly worrying, says EIF, is the estimated £5.2 billion associated with cases of domestic violence and abuse, a figure up from £4 billion in the last year because of a 6 per cent increase in recorded cases.

More positively, the reduction in expenditure on benefits for 18 to 24-year-olds from £3.7 billion down to £2.6 billion – due to fewer numbers of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) – is welcome.

EIF says that this analysis only counts the immediate annual costs of acute services and benefits. It does not capture the longer-term or wider social costs of intervening later rather than earlier, which can last a lifetime or even across generations.

The new EIF analysis shows local government are having to pick up the largest share of the national late intervention spend (£6.4 billion), followed by the NHS with £3.7 billion and DWP with welfare costs of £2.7 billion.
The cost per person of late intervention varies significantly across local authorities in England – from as low as £164 to as high as £531. This variation is linked to the level of local deprivation, with areas and regions that are more deprived generally having higher levels of late intervention spend per person.

To read the report, click here.