Homelessness, poverty, child abuse, mental illness, bullying, dementia, autism — millions of Canadians struggle with these issues every day. 

Governments and social agencies have long relied on last-resort measures to tackle tough problems faced by their citizens. But as the problems persist — and in many cases, worsen — the cost of the social safety rises.

Innovators in Canada and around the world frustrated by the failure of these traditional programs and policies and have developed new approaches. Using the strategy of early intervention — identifying problems early and tackling them immediately — a number of these programs have yielded successful results, such as improvements in quality of life for individuals, and even reduced government costs.

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 new approaches with traditional last-resort methods.


“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, President and CEO, The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation


“He 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