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New research suggests on-line support services ‘less effective’ than those provided face to face

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) has released a report suggesting young people may be being disadvantaged by services moving on-line as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.

The new study was based on a rapid review of:

- 33 UK and international evidence clearinghouses, to identify programmes for children, young people and families that have been delivered remotely

- existing evidence reviews, going back to 2000, on remote delivery of interventions for children, young people and families and

- a short online survey of early intervention programme providers and developers conducted by EIF in early April, which received 88 responses.

It concludes, ‘There is little evidence to suggest that virtual and digital interventions are more effective than traditional face-to-face approaches. When these comparisons are made, typically, virtual and digital interventions are found to be less effective. In general, interventions which have some form of personalisation and/or contact with a practitioner – rather than self-directed, non-interactive learning – are more likely to improve outcomes.’

The report points to the fact that the sector is rapidly mobilising to allow remote delivery of interventions the great majority (91%) of programme developers and providers continuing to deliver interventions with over three-quarters of these doing so with major adaptations to standard delivery.

The report draws a set of conclusions for developers, providers and commissioners about what the findings mean for how they support vulnerable children and young people during the pandemic and beyond, including a series of five recommendations for consideration.

Read the report here.