Friday, June 16, 2006

Does Sure Start harm poor families?

Sure Start "harms children who need it most"

says the Guardian website. But the words in the quotation appear nowhere in the report below. And if Sure Start does harm some children, then it is the last thing they need. So it was an odd headline to use.

My feeling has always been that playgroups, nurseries and the like are excellent institutions and should be encouraged by the state, though there is no reason why it should run them all. But I have been wary of the New Labour attempt to give them an explicit therapeutic purpose.

I have read too many social and healthcare papers in my time to give much credence to one study, but could it be I have been right all along? More research is needed, as people paid to do research always say.

1 comment:

archrights said...

This latest research replicates the findings of the official Sure Start evaluation earlier this year: in Sure Start areas, the most deprived children seem to be faring worse than in areas without Sure Start.

There are several suggestions as to why this might be: perhaps the less-marginalised families are better able to get a disproportionate share of available resources; perhaps those who really are struggling have already had bad experiences of state agencies and are reluctant to risk involvement with Sure Start.

Worrying evidence is now emerging across all of the 'preventive' schemes (including youth justice)that early intervention may in fact be aggravating problems.