New blog piece: “The earlier, the better”

Which aspects increase chances of success when considering the development and implementation of youth policy?

ISOTIS researcher Pauline Slot (Utrecht University) tells us about important conditions in the scope of youth policy in a new blog piece on the EarlyYearsBlog.EU, available at the link below.

Starting early is the first condition mentioned. The researcher notes that "Prevention or early intervention, when problems are still mild, is in the benefit of the child and family". Children’s development can be enhanced by prevention programs. Pauline Slot adds that "Especially family healthcare, which includes for instance regular health check-ups and vaccinations for young children, but also screening of children’s development supports healthy development of children".

Using effective programs is also a relevant condition. Pauline Slot highlights that "It is important to use programs that have proven to be effective in changing the targeted behaviour or skills". She adds that "A (national) databank can be established to facilitate the use of evidence-based programs." This information can help professionals and parents to take well informed decisions.

Establishing a coherent, long-term cost-effective youth policy is the third condition mentioned. The researcher informs that there are two strategies for cost effective youth policy which are adopted, for instance, in the British policy Every Child Matters. The first strategy entails a small change for a large group of people: "To establish a small difference within a large group of people we need a collective prevention or public health approach". The second strategy concerns focusing on a large improvement for a small group of people, by targeting specific at-risk groups who are thought to benefit a lot by certain program. Pauline Slot notes that "These programs can also be preventive and aimed at parenting or family problems that are still in an early stage".

The researcher also addresses two other aspects. She highlights the relevance of a shift from a problem-oriented approach to a strengths-based approach focused on the empowerment of the families.  Additionally, she refers that it is important to include a focus on the wider social context the family, such as relatives, friends, and neighbours, (pre)school and community services.

Read the full blog piece here:

The earlier, the better