Evaluation and value of Sure Start



Publication Details

Melhuish, E., Belsky, J. & Barnes, J. (2010). Evaluation and value of Sure Start. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95 (3), 159-161.


A decade ago, the Cross-Departmental Review of Services for Young Children concluded that disadvantage among young children was increasing and it was more likely that poor outcomes could be prevented when early intervention was undertaken. The review also noted that current services were uncoordinated and patchy, and recommended that there should be a change in service design and delivery. It suggested that programmes should be jointly planned by all relevant bodies and be area based, with all children under 4 years old and their families in an area being clients. In July 1998, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, introduced Sure Start, which is aimed at providing quality services for children under 4 years old and their parents. The original intent of the programme design was to focus on the 20% most deprived areas, which included around 51% of children in families with incomes 60% or less than the national median (offi cial poverty line).

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