Front-line staff delivering the government’s children’s centres agenda have been warned against repeating the mistakes made in some Sure Start programmes.
Public health minister Caroline Flint said it was crucial that children’s centres were not seen or created as the service delivery solution for the whole community.
Where this had happened with Sure Start, she said, programmes failed to reach some of the most vulnerable people.
“That’s why creating children’s centres isn’t just about buildings,” she told a Daycare Trust conference last week.
Flint said children’s centres could learn from the way health centres had adapted their traditional ways of delivering services to reach the most excluded people.
“It is important to recognise who is not coming into your buildings,” she said.
Kevin Woods, deputy manager of the Department for Education and Skills’ early childhood division, said the Sure Start evaluation and other research had shown that teenage parents, fathers, parents of disabled children and ethnic minority families were often excluded.