Are Child Welfare Intervention Rates Higher or Lower in Areas Targeted for Enhanced Early Years Services?

Jonathan Scourfield, Calum Webb, Martin Elliott, Linda Saniland, Paul Bywaters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Flying Start is an enhanced early years programme in Wales which is targeted at areas where a high proportion of households with children are recipients of income-related benefits or tax credits. Child protection interventions are known to be concentrated in more deprived areas. Flying Start could have the effect of reducing risk to children or, conversely, it could result in more children coming to the attention of social services. Administrative data were used to identify children in public care and on child protection registers in Wales on 31 March 2015 and to identify lower super output areas covered by Flying Start services. Child welfare intervention rates were examined, and a comparison was made between areas within deprivation quintiles where Flying Start was operating and areas where it was not. In areas where Flying Start services are provided, child welfare intervention rates are higher than in areas where they are not, after controlling for multiple deprivation. Further work is needed to establish why child welfare intervention rates are higher in Flying Start areas and what effect there might be longer term. ‘Child welfare intervention rates were examined, and a comparison was made between areas… where Flying Start was operating and areas where it was not’. Key Practitioner Messages: In Wales there is a ‘social gradient’ in the rates at which local authorities intervene by placing children in statutory care or making them subject to child protection procedures. For each increase in relative deprivation, there is a corresponding increase in intervention rates. In areas where Flying Start enhanced early years services are provided, child welfare intervention rates are higher than in areas where they are not, after controlling for area-level deprivation. The link between poverty and risk to children needs to be more clearly acknowledged in the child protection process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse Review
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

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