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Sure Start Programme: Health Visitors

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he gives local authorities on the involvement of health visitors in the provision of services for children and families in Sure Start centres; and what assessment he has made of the nature and extent of that involvement. (139231)

The Government’s planning and practice guidance for local authorities and the health service says that in the most disadvantaged areas we expect to see health visitors ideally working from Sure Start children’s centres, or at least having strong links with centres.

The health-led parenting support project has been established in 10 areas to test an intensive home visiting programme for young, vulnerable first-time mothers. Visits are carried by health visitors and midwives linked to children’s centres.

We do not collect information at national level on the nature and extent of services provided in every children’s centre. We have however asked our delivery contractors Together for Children to ensure that LAs and local health partners are working together to plan and deliver children’s centres. TfC are also collecting evidence of good practice to share and disseminate with LAs and the health service.