Early Intervention

How Canada's social programs can work better, save lives, and often save money

by James Hughes

Homelessness, poverty, child abuse, mental illness, bullying, dementia, autism -- the evidence that early intervention improves lives, and often costs society less in the long run.

Governments and social agencies tackle the toughest social problems their citizens face -- poverty, homelessness, mental and physical illness, violence, abuse, and more. Yet these problems persist in Canada -- in many cases, they are worsening -- and the costs of the social safety net continue to rise.

New approaches have been developed by innovators frustrated by the failure of traditional programs and policies, in Canada and internationally. Many of the most promising new approaches use a strategy of early intervention -- identifying and tackling problems without delay. Regardless of the problem, innovative, well-designed programs based on early intervention have generated better results for the individuals involved and for society as a whole. Often, the associated costs to government have been reduced.

In Early Intervention James Hughes showcases the best of these innovative approaches. He provides representative real-life case histories of Canadian beneficiaries of this new thinking and presents the findings of researchers who have compared the outcomes of newapproaches with traditional ones.

Putting the social safety net into place was one of Canada's great achievements in the 20th century. Revamping those programs so they make a greater contribution to the quality of life of all Canadians is the challenge for the early 21st century. In this book, James Hughes shows howthis can be done. He provides the background information needed by anyone who wants to help reform and improve Canadian social policy.

About the Author

James Hughes
JAMES HUGHES lives in Montreal and has worked as a senior administrator in social services for more than fifteen years. He is the founding president of the Montreal non-profit Youth Employment Services and served as director general of the Old Brewery Mission, Quebec's largest centre serving the homeless. He was the deputy minister of social development in New Brunswick from 2008 to 2011 and is now the president of the Graham Boeckh Foundation. He has published articles on social policy in Policy Options and Literary Review of Canada. This is his first book.


With our social safety net at the breaking point, and in some instances beyond it,
it is clear that we need a better way. With clarity and courage, James Hughes shows
us how we got here, and how we can restore viability, efficacy, and humanity to the
social systems that have long defined Canada as a caring nation.
Stephen Huddart,, The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation
James Hughes brings to light a new and relevant perspective on the traditional public
health approach of prevention: his well-documented book illustrates credibly the why,
as well as the how, of addressing major social problems through early intervention.
Pierre-Marc Johnson,, former Premier of Quebec
James Hughes speaks with experience. As a deputy minister in our government, his
leadership with early intervention initiatives helped transform our province for the better!
Shawn Graham, former Premier of New Brunswick

Subjects (BISAC)


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