The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) is a young, dynamic and ambitious charity established in 2013 to champion and support the use of effective early intervention to improve the lives of children and young people at risk of experiencing poor outcomes.
As a member of the government’s What Works Network, EIF has a pivotal role as the go-to source for evidence and advice on effective early intervention for children and young people.
Early intervention means identifying and providing effective early support to children and young people who are at risk of poor outcomes.
Effective early intervention works to prevent problems occurring, or to tackle them head-on when they do, before problems get worse. It also helps to foster a whole set of personal strengths and skills that prepare a child for adult life.
Early intervention focuses on supporting children’s physical, cognitive, behavioural, and social and emotional development. This is where it can make the biggest difference and has the potential to provide benefits throughout a person’s life.
EIF is a research charity, focused on promoting and enabling an evidence-based approach to early intervention.
- We make the case for effective early intervention, to ensure it is prioritised and invested in at both the national and local level.
- We conduct research, bringing together and synthesising the evidence from scientific studies, tests and evaluations of early intervention programmes and practices, and the expertise and experiences of people working in early intervention.
- We publish reports to disseminate the findings, conclusions and recommendations from our research, and produce resources to translate this research into practical guidance and tools.
- We work with government and all levels of the early intervention sector to ensure this evidence is used in decisions about how early intervention is supported and implemented, from national policy to frontline practice.
Our work focuses on the developmental issues that can arise during a child’s life, from birth to the age of 18, including their physical, cognitive, behavioural and social and emotional development. As a result, our work covers a wide range of policy and service areas, including health, education, families and policing.
What we don't do
- We are not a service provider: we don’t work directly with children, young people or families to provide early intervention or any other services. We work upstream, with the public services, voluntary and charity organisations, programme developers, local authorities, health bodies and government agencies who do work to support people through early intervention.
- We are not a funding organisation: we are not able to provide funding in any form, for early intervention provision, evaluation or research. Organisations which may be able to provide information on funding include the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which runs Funding Central, the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action, the Institute of Fundraising, and the Directory of Social Change.
- We are not evaluators: we don’t conduct trials or evaluations of early intervention programmes or practices. We do work with those who commission or conduct trials, to promote rigorous methods and reporting, and to encourage and support more evaluation of early intervention in the UK. Evidence based on trials and evaluations forms a crucial part of our research, and of the findings, recommendations and guidance we develop.
- We cannot provide individual advice about a child or family that you feel would benefit from extra support. To find out more about services which may be available in your area, you should contact your local council, GP or health visitor.
EIF works with local partners to extend the reach and impact of effective early intervention approaches. Since the organisation was established in 2013 we have worked with early intervention decision-makers, commissioners, service providers and practitioners in over 50 local places.
Our work in local areas has given us an in-depth understanding of the challenges of trying to deliver early intervention in a difficult financial climate, and the kinds of evidence-based information that decision-makers and practitioners need.
We have supported local areas in different ways, by providing access to the latest evidence, expert advice and opportunities to share experiences with areas facing similar challenges. We have also served as a ‘critical friend’ for local areas that are developing their early intervention strategies and approaches.
September 2008: Graham Allen MP and Iain Duncan Smith MP co-write Early Intervention: good parents, great kids, better citizens, published by the Centre for Social Justice and the Smith Institute.
July 2010: The Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, asks Graham Allen to chair an independent review of early intervention to report back to the government.
January 2011: The first report of Graham Allen’s review, Early Intervention: the next steps, is published. This report recommended that an independent Early Intervention Foundation should be established, with a role to include:
- supporting local people, communities and agencies
- leading and motivating the expansion of early intervention
- evaluating early intervention policies based on a rigorous methodology and a strong evidence base
- developing the capacity to attract private and public investment to early intervention.
July 2011: The second report of Graham Allen’s review, Early Intervention: Smart investment, massive savings, is published.
February 2013: Start-up funding for the Early Intervention Foundation is secured.
July 2013: EIF becomes an independent charity, under the leadership of founding chair Graham Allen and chief executive Carey Oppenheim. Our charitable aims are to: (a) advance education; (b) promote health; (c) relieve poverty; through in particular, disseminating evidence concerning best practices in early interventions to improve social and emotional capabilities of babies, children and young people in these fields.
September 2016: EIF moves from its original home at Local Government House, Smith Square, to 10 Salamanca Place, Vauxhall.
August 2017: Dr Jo Casebourne takes over as chief executive of EIF.
July 2018: EIF publishes its strategy for 2018–2023, focusing on a three-part model:
- Making the case for early intervention
- Generating evidence
- Using evidence to change policy and practice
October 2018: EIF publishes Realising the potential of early intervention, reasserting the case for prioritising and investing in effective early intervention, and setting out a plan of action at national and local level.
As a charity, EIF receives funding from a range of sources, including contracts, grants, sponsorship and donations from government, trusts and foundations, corporations and individuals.
Currently, EIF receives around three-quarters of its funding via a cross-government grant from a consortium of government agencies, made up of the Department for Education, Department for Work and Pensions, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Public Health England, an agency of the Department of Health and Social Care.
Current or recent non-governmental funders include ESRC, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Battersea Power Station Foundation.