The new model of Sure Start Centre will deliver dedicated support to disadvantaged and dysfunctional families as part of the Sure Start programme.
They will be similar to Academy schools in that they will be independent institutions which operate outside local government control and are funded directly by central government.
Welcoming the announcement, Mark Reckless said:
“I worked for the Conservative Policy Unit between 2002 and 2004 and helped develop our policy of early intervention to support parents of the most at risk children. It is fantastic that we have confirmed that we are following through with this as part of Sure Start on the basis of programmes which are proven to work and delivered through the voluntary sector.”
Speaking yesterday in London, David Cameron said he was committed to keeping Sure Start, but he will also seek to improve it by taking it back to its original purpose – namely “early intervention, increasing its focus on those who need its help most and better involving organisations with a proven track record in parenting interventions”.
He said we already know what works in terms of parenting interventions, citing research done by the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners and others. “They have identified models with proven success – from family nurse partnerships, an intensive programme for vulnerable first-time parents that ends when the child is two to parenting support groups for parents with learning difficulties.”
With this in mind, he announced that the Conservatives would “invite independent organisations that have a proven track record in these areas – like Lifeline and 4Children and Homestart and contract them to run children’s centres and reach out to dysfunctional and disadvantaged local families. They will then be paid – at least in part – according to the results they achieve.”