Sure Start research raises eyebrows

Expectations that the number of referrals to social services
would increase in areas where Sure Start local programmes are in
operation were unfounded, according to research.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of
Durham for the Department for Education and Skills, found that
programmes had no significant impact on the number of

Many practitioners involved in the study, which covered 19
programmes in four local authority areas in the North East, had
expected referrals to social services to increase as previously
unmet need was revealed.

The researchers also found that Sure Start programmes had no
impact on the number of children placed on the child protection
register in each area.

It was suggested by all the local authorities that local
programmes might have a long-term impact on the work of social
services by carrying out preventive and early assessment work with


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