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EIF report

Spending on late intervention: How we can do better for less


12 Feb 2015

This report focuses on the immediate and short-run fiscal costs of ‘late intervention’: the acute, statutory and essential benefits and services that are required when children and young people experience significant difficulties in life, many of which might have been prevented.

Full report


Technical paper



Picking up the pieces from damaging social problems affecting young people such as mental health problems, going into care, unemployment and youth crime costs the government almost £17 billion a year, our new research shows.

Our analysis finds that almost one-third of this bill came from the annual £5 billion cost of looking after children in care. An estimated further £4 billion a year is spent on benefits for 18–24-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET), with another £900 million spent helping young people suffering from mental health issues or battling drug and alcohol problems.

This report contains further details of cost by outcome, as well as estimates of how costs fall on different agencies and areas of government. The methodology for estimating costs can be replicated for any local area, making this an invaluable resource for local areas struggling to make the case for investment in early intervention.

About the author

Carey Oppenheim

Carey is an EIF associate and former chief executive.