A new report on the tangible benefits of Sure Start is welcomed by Steve Phaure and Gwyn Fields
The Institute for Fiscal Studies research on Sure Start, the policy credited with a big positive effect on children’s health and millions of pounds in savings to the NHS, highlights the wider impact on health inequalities – not to mention the public purse – of the government’s disinvestment in early years prevention (Labour flagship Sure Start ‘delivered major health benefits to children’, 4 June).
The cuts at children’s centres and across the youth services have left a legacy that the new public-health approach to youth violence and responses to the mental health “epidemic” affecting young people now struggle with. But not to be overlooked is that when Sure Start was launched it formed just one part of an early intervention strategy to tackle the impact of poverty on families, going beyond the need for affordable childcare and employment advice. Fast forward to 2019 and a groundbreaking study in Croydon has shown how adverse childhood experiences like exposure to domestic violence, parental substance abuse and mental illness are still having a generational impact on youngsters’ health and wellbeing. The investment needs to go deeper into communities, to fund preventive work that forms lasting relationships, builds trust and gives whole families the support they need to thrive, before we can be confident again of achieving sustainable health benefits for children experiencing poverty and neglect.
CEO, Croydon Voluntary Action
Source: The Guardian
Sure Start helped kids live healthier lives | Letters