Sunday, December 07, 2008

IDS on Social Breakdown

Very sobering article from Ian Duncan Smith in Saturday's Telegraph, reflecting on the Matthews kidnap case, social services, and social breakdown. Here's a snippet.

All the evidence from neuroscientists now shows that the most critical time for the development of a child's brain is in the first three years. To develop properly the child needs strong empathetic care and nurture as well as reading and conversation.

If the child does not experience these things, or worse, witnesses continuous anger and abuse, their brain will not develop at the proper rate and they will spend the rest of their childhood in and out of trouble. To turn this around will require more than one parliament, which is why all parties need to agree to act now.

A glance at the figures should show how we are already paying for this growing social breakdown. Over the past ten years the cost of policing has risen by 40 per cent, prisons and the courts by 46 per cent, youth justice by 45 per cent and working-age benefits by 25 per cent.

Too important to dismiss as Tory moralising, even if that's your instinct.

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