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Children’s Centres

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effects of children's centres to local communities. (214114)

There is a comprehensive national level evaluation of Sure Start in place, which began in January 2001 and will run until 2010. To date 27 reports have been published, including the latest Impact Study findings in March 2008. These can be found at

http://www.surestartgov.uk/research/evaluations/ness/nesspublications/.

The findings of the latest Impact Study evaluation conducted when the children were three years old found that living in an area with a Children's Centre that was formerly a Sure Start Local Programme (SSLP) was associated with positive impacts on five of the 14 outcomes investigated. Children living in former SSLP areas exhibited more positive social behaviour and greater independence/self regulation, while parents made greater use of support services, exhibited less negative parenting and provided a better home learning environment. The analysis of the most recent data shows beneficial effects for almost all children and families living in SSLP areas and provides almost no evidence of adverse effects on population sub-groups such as workless or lone parent families.