Comment on the Future of Sure Start children’s Centres

Responding to an enquiry from CYPNOW about the future of Sure Start children’s centres, Jenny Coles, Chair of the ADCS Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee, said:

“Effective support in the early years can lessen the risk of longer term challenges and inequalities later on in a child’s life and make for happier children, young people and communities. Our members are working with various partner agencies to deliver a range of services from the Healthy Child Programme to support with employment and training and it is important for us to recognise the significant contribution of the voluntary sector in delivering children’s centres across the country. These centres are playing a key role in their local communities, ensuring children get a better start in life and families can access support. But this about more than buildings and we need flexible services that will help to close the gap in outcomes between the most and least disadvantaged families. In the current financial context ensuring the most vulnerable families are identified and receive professional help must be a priority, whilst trusting local communities to provide more informal support themselves. It is the view of ADCS members that local authorities are best placed to oversee local needs and to use the available streams of funding to commission services in each local community – one size doesn’t fit all and the
pattern of provision will vary from place to place. Although ADCS does have concerns about the sustainability of funding for early intervention more generally, we welcome the transfer of responsibility for funding public health services (health visiting) to local authorities – this provides an opportunity to integrate health, education and social care support which will particularly benefit the most vulnerable children.”


The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Ltd is the professional leadership association for Directors of Children’s Services and their senior management teams in England.

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