Sure Start has helped reduce the number of young children living in workless households, but failed to make much progress in tackling antisocial behaviour, the latest research has confirmed.
Findings from the National Evaluation of Sure Start team, based on the first 260 Sure Start local programmes, reveal that fewer children in SSLP areas live in homes in receipt of Income Support and other benefits now than in 2000.
There were also significant increases in Section 47 inquiries and new registrations on the child protection register in SSLP areas, both of which may be related to earlier identification of need and better inter-agency collaboration to support families.
However, permanent exclusions from primary and secondary schools in SSLP areas have not changed, and levels of violent crimes and drug offences have risen more quickly than across the rest of the country. There has also been relatively little headway made in SSLP areas in relation to children’s health.
The latest report also backs earlier suggestions that SSLP areas with high proportions of families with ethnic minority backgrounds have made less progress than other SSLP areas, possibly as a result of less contact in these areas between families and a range of services.