Vulnerable children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) should receive early intervention to improve their life chances and prevent them from entering the criminal justice system. So says a new report, Engaging for Their Futures and Our Society, by the Children’s Communication Coalition launched at the recent conference of the Royal College of Speech and Language.
The report claims that, as over 60 per cent of the young people in custody have SLCN, the benefits of early intervention would be felt not just by the young people themselves, but also by society as a whole. It calls upon the Government to facilitate screening to detect SLCN during early years and ensure that specialist assessment and intervention are available to children and young people who are already in the criminal justice system.
In the report’s foreword, Lord David Ramsbothan, former Chief Inspector of Prisons and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children, says: “Research shows that unless children are given appropriate support at the earliest age possible, a high proportion will go on to develop entrenched difficulties.”