Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Children and Young People in Scotland, has announced that a new £20 million early intervention fund will be developed over the next two years to support voluntary groups working with Scottish children, young people and their families.

The announcement follows recommendations from an independent expert group to join up various funding streams to better target investment in children, families and communities, particularly around preventative action and early intervention.

The current Unified Voluntary Sector Fund (UVSF) and Early Years Early Action Fund will continue until March 2013, at which point the new fund will come on stream, bolstering other early intervention funds including the recently launched £6m Communities and Families Fund.

Ms Campbell said: "The voluntary sector has a significant role to play in realising our ambition to make Scotland the best place for children to grow up. The new £20m fund will be designed to support that ongoing effort.

"The Scottish Government has invested heavily in children and families. We know that for every £1 spent in the early years, another £9 can be saved in later years through prevention."

Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children said the early intervention fund was a "welcome move by the Scottish Government toward effective joined-up working, taking on board many of the recommendations made by the independent review."

She added: "As budgets are squeezed and efficiency becomes crucial, joined up working offers the most cost effective way to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction.

"Research by 4Children has shown that the public overwhelmingly supports early intervention. We know the positive outcomes this approach delivers and the voluntary sector is ideally placed to ensure that this can be achieved."

Posted by Penny Hosie