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NEWS: New IFS report outlines lasting health benefits of Sure Start Children’s Centres

Today a new report was published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies outlining the health benefits that Sure Start Children’s Centres have on children in England, lasting from infancy through to teenage years.

Sure Start centres offer families with children under five in England access to a range of support around education and childcare, health services, access to employment and parenting support, however centres have faced funding cuts and closures since 2010. 

The new research, funded by The Nuffield Foundation, suggests that increased access to Sure Start Children's Centres during the early years of childhood results in a significant increase in hospitalisation of infants. This could be due to parents having improved access to health services, and infants being exposed to more infectious illnesses.

As children grow older this effect reverses, with increased access to Sure Start significantly reducing the number of hospitalisations in older children, likely due to improved immune systems, safety at home and emotional and behavioural development. This effect in older children outweighs the increased hospitalisations seen in infancy.

With these findings, the authors call on the government in England to consider the long-term benefits of these types of integrated services for children and their families in policy decisions. 

Read the full report here

PACEY's work: Together for Twos

PACEY delivers a Department for Education funded project Together for Twos which specifically focuses on growing the uptake of funded entitlements, and showcasing the range of choices in childcare focusing particularly on the benefits of using a childminder. Through this work PACEY develops and strengthens partnerships with Job Centre Plus staff, health colleagues, Social care and Children Centres to provide information and support to parents as they consider their options for work, training and access to childcare. You can read more about our Together for Twos project here and find our range of resources here.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:

“This report adds to an already significant body of evidence that investment in high quality early years provision results not only in significant positive outcomes for children and their families but also has wider economic benefits through future savings.

"It is positive to see evidence that the benefits of early intervention programmes are carried with the child long after they outgrow the programme, particularly for the most disadvantaged.

"It is this long-term thinking that we want to see reflected in the upcoming Government Spending Review, with funding of programmes like Sure Start part of a much wider investment into the early years. This is how we support the best outcomes for children and families and, in doing so, ensure future communities are resilient and can thrive.”