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Early Intervention Foundation Guidebook

The Early Intervention Foundation's Guidebook is an online resource for those who wish to find out more about how to commission and deliver effective Early Intervention.

It provides information about early intervention programmes that have been evaluated and shown to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Through a rigorous assessment process, EIF has rated the strength of evidence for a programme's impact and its relative costs.

The Guidebook also provides a wealth of information about the specific outcomes a programme has been shown to improve, how the programme works, how it is delivered, and the conditions or resources that can make a programme more likely to be effective.

Guidebook structure:
‘What Works’ for children in nine key domains:
·         Mental health
·         Child maltreatment
·         School and employment
·         Crime, violence & antisocial behaviour
·         Substance misuse
·         Risky sexual behaviour
·         Obesity & physical health
·         Early child development
·         Contexts of child development
‘What works’ in commissioning:
·         Best methods for matching programmes and target populations
·         Best methods for evaluating and monitoring intervention effectiveness
·         Comparing costs and benefits and assessing value for money
·         Implementing interventions so that they achieve their maximum effectiveness.
Programmes Library
A key feature of the Guidebook is the Programmes Library which was created in 2014 to provide an accessible overview of the evidence on 50 programmes chosen from 15 authoritative clearing houses. We have not revalidated the ratings of these clearing houses (for more details please see our blog).  We have presented this evidence within a single framework of standards of evidence as a first step in our work as a What Works centre.
We have since reviewed the evidence on 100s of programmes and in due course will update the Library of Programmes, including with new evidence on the existing 50.
In the meantime users of the Library should read carefully the description of how to use the Library, noting the caveats and using this evidence carefully to inform commissioning
The Library is accessed through our Programmes Search Tool that allows commissioners to identify programmes on the strength of their evidence, the age of their target population and the outcomes they hope to achieve for their community.  Once these selections have been made, commissioners are provided with a list of programmes matching their criteria with links to individual programme pages. Individual programme pages then provide information about how the programme works, how to deliver it, its costs (when available) and the strength of its evidence.
Effective Commissioning
Established evidence is important, but it is not everything.  A programme may look perfect on paper, but this is no guarantee that it will work in a particular time and place. Commissioners must first have a solid understanding of their community needs to determine whether a given intervention is a good fit for their community and target population.
Effective commissioning also requires a solid understanding of an intervention’s costs and the systems required to implement it successfully.  This is because past evidence is never a guarantee that the intervention will work again in a new location or setting.  Interventions must therefore always be monitored within local settings to make sure that they are being implemented effectively and providing value for money. 
The Early Intervention Foundation
The Early Intervention Foundation is an independent charity that champions and supports the use of effective early intervention to improve the lives of children, young people and their families, reduce hardship and improve value for money in the long run. Please click here for more information about the Early Intervention Foundation