Sure Start children's centres

January 2013

What is Sure Start?

The ‘core purpose’ of Sure Start children's centres is based on improving outcomes for young children and their families, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged families.

The aim is to reduce inequalities in child development and school readiness, supported by improved parenting skills and improved child and family health life chances. In this context, the safety of children and families is an important shared objective. Working in partnership across professional and agency boundaries is also a key principle which underpins all activity.

Statutory guidance for Sure Start Children’s Centres highlights existing best practice on antenatal and postnatal services, child health services and information on health issues in children’s centres. Advice on accident and injury prevention is one of the topics included.

At local level, therefore, the partnership approach can take many forms, with opportunities to provide a range of services for very young children and parents, including:

  • healthcare – e.g. advice on breastfeeding, home safety advice, language therapy
  • early education – e.g. early learning and childcare. childcare
  • family support – e.g. advice on parenting, help with accessing other services such as jobseekers

What is their role in child accident prevention?

As Sure Start Children's Centres have a commitment to health, they also provide safety advice and guidance for parents, to help them understand the value of making their home safe. Many Sure Start Children's Centres offer home visits and outreach to give parents tailored advice on keeping their children safe in the home.

Sure Start Children's Centres also provide a vital role as a ‘hub’ service. Parents visit for many different reasons and receive a wide variety of help, including support from health visitors. Because of their direct link to parents, Sure Start Children's Centres are an excellent channel through which to promote current safety initiatives as well as to reinforce safety awareness through informal and topical information provision and displays.

For the children themselves, early learning goals ‘prime areas’ include physical development – for example, moving and handling: safely negotiating space, and health and self-care: being able to talk about ways to keep healthy and safe.

For more detailed information, see the Statutory Framework for the early Years Foundation Stage on the Department for Education (DfE) site.

See also the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Handbook on the DfE site.

More about Sure Start and child development

Find out more about Sure Start Children’s Centres on the DfE site.

Find your local Sure Start Children’s Centre on the .gov.uk site.

See information on CAPT resources on accidents and child development on the CAPT shop.

Updated June 2013