The impetus for family-centred early childhood intervention

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In this article, the current climate of early intervention is considered, advocating the necessity for it to remain a cutting-edge service that attends to the changing needs profiles of children and their families.The article reviews the difficulties experienced by families in the UK, where, as the government acknowledges, life chances are still unequal. It emphasises that early interventions can increase the likelihood of the family being able to engage or re-engage with mainstream societal services, thus reducing the long-term costs to society.It discusses the past and present UK policy context from 2004, when Sohns reported that the UK was the only country without a national policy of infrastructure in relation to early childhood intervention, until the present when, a raft of legislation is in place acknowledging its importance and the need for priority.Central to many effective early intervention programmes is the goal of establishing shared communication in the infant–key carer dyad, using alternative communication and therapy-based interventions. The article discusses parent-inclusive programmes which meet the needs of both parents and children, and receive endorsement from parents.Finally, the article considers evaluation of early childhood services, and the necessity of increasing the centrality of the family in service delivery in order to provide services which are integrated, relevant and efficacious.

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