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Sure Start Reserch Government Initiative Liverpool Essay

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Within this assignment I aim to outline the background policy and initiative to the sure start programme. I will give a description of how the initiative is working locally by showing examples of real life practice. I will provide information about the effectiveness of the targets of sure start and future plans for the programme.

In May 1998 the government made proposals in the green paper Meeting the childcare challenge. Within this green paper it sets out the national childcare strategy to provide affordable good quality childcare for all children aged 0-14. Sure start programmes grew from this need and are significant in providing this mainly for 0-4 year olds. In 1999 the government pledged $425 million investment in children and family over three years. The government initiated sure start as part of its' central drive to eliminate child poverty and tackle social exclusion by providing the support to parents through help in nurturing and developing the health, well being and learning capability of children from the moment they are born. It was agreed that Sure Start would be a cross-Government strategy for children under the age of 4 and their families in disadvantaged areas. A significant proportion of this funding was designated as capital expenditure. It was to provide additional services and facilities and to expand or enhance existing services. This funding was also critical to deliver extra training for existing professionals and new workers. Sure start has helped to transform opportunities for younger children through better access to childcare, health, early year education and support for families including parenting support. Proposals for the first sure start 'trailblazer' areas were developed and the Secretary of state David Blunkett announced in January 99 that the first 60 areas of disadvantage had been identified to lead the projects.

Within the "National Priorities Guidance for Health and social care" (1999). It was identified as a priority for Health and social care to:

' identify at least one significant initiative related to sure start and consider how the sure start programme would fit and contribute to the locally agreed strategies for social services, health and education, as set out in early years development plan and others.'

As a condition of funding existing 'core' services had to participate in the sure start programme. Existing services were for eg; family centres, community nursing services, community centres, playgroups and GP surgeries or health clinics. Sure start was used as a new way for setting inter agency and inter departmental working , aiming to breakdown barriers that prevent families receiving the co-ordinated services they needed. With focus on outreach and building trust with parents who were not in receipt of services and may have not come forward for help and advice. Sure start presented an opportunity to consider the health and social care needs of those communities and aided in the development for appropriate delivery mechanisms that were in particular culturally sensitive. Sure start aimed to bridge the gap between specialised and more general services for eg; Child mental health professionals trained staff so they could work with families where a child had early signs of emotional and behavioural problems thus preventing more serious problems at a later stage. This kind of service is complementary to work to Social Services not a replacement.

Over the first three years the programme supported the development of 250 projects, which aimed to develop effective and co-ordinated services for families. Each service was built...

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