The Early Inclusion Collective: Ensuring that invisible children are seen, and safe

The Early Inclusion Collective will transform the support systems around children to be safety-focused and inclusive from the outset, built through evidence-based practices. 

All too often, children and young people have to fall out’ of the system before they are seen and supported. We see this in children self-excluding from school to provide care to parents, young people actively seeking clinical diagnosis of mental health conditions, and parents understandably demanding their children obtain statutory support plans, despite the longer term implications of this.

Additionally, we have seen how children make themselves invisible to stay safe. Girls aren’t seen in school exclusions data, young carers aren’t known to teachers, LGBTQ+ children are over-represented in the care system but invisible in the data. These aren’t risky children, they are children in risky systems.

Quite a lot of local authorities said that they don’t have any LGBTQ+ children and young people in their care…and I’m not quite sure how that’s possible. You can’t have not one person…

Brett, from our report, Inclusive Care: Experiences of LGBTQ+ children and young people in care

The Early Inclusion Collective recognises that child-level interventions are an important part of our support networks. But to prevent harm, we need to shift the system to one that no longer tries to manage risk, but rather creates conditions of safety.

What are we doing?

Over the next five years, the Early Inclusion Collective will build a movement that partners with system stakeholders, families, and children and young people themselves. Through this, we will demonstrate how shifting from risk-based approaches to inclusive safety-based environments improves the lives of all children.

This mission is big, and it is bold; but we have a clear plan to achieve it.

For the first two years, the Collective will create the evidence base for system outcomes’ – how to organise the environment around the child, so that it is more inclusive from the outset. We can only achieve this by ensuring all children are seen. So, alongside this evidence base, we are creating a Missing Data Unit, a framework that can dock alongside statutory data sets to indicate who isn’t showing up.

Over the following three years, the Collective will convene system actors for action, utilising the evidence base we have established as a platform for a new approach to services and support for children. We will be working alongside and within local communities, taking our evidence to action through inclusive commissioning, services, and incentives. We will be creating new platforms for innovative finance and, most importantly, ensuring systems are safe for all children.

We are establishing a genuine collective, using relational approaches to governance, so that partners from all sectors can step in and out when there is value in them doing so. We will utilise our evidence-based methodologies in systems change, focusing on Data, Voice, Systems, Learning, Partnerships and Action.

Our mission is to ensure invisible children are seen and safe. This challenge transcends any single organisation or sector – it’s a community problem, an educational problem, a funding problem, a political problem. It involves not just social workers or educators, but also policymakers, healthcare professionals, families, young people themselves. It involves us all. 

Come join us – email impact.incubator@socialfinance.org.uk

The team

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