Every Child Matters, the English government's plans for integrated children's services, proposed that preventative approaches such as those developed through Sure Start should be able to reduce the numbers of children requiring more intensive support from children's social services and, by implication, the numbers of children on the child protection register. This study examined the impact of Sure Start local programmes (SSLPs) on four local authorities with social services responsibilities (SSDs) in the North East of England. The researchers analysed routinely collected statistical data concerning over 10,000 referrals of children under four years and over 1,600 child protection registrations (CPRs) in an eight-year period before and after the introduction of 19 SSLPs. They also analysed interviews with 36 key informants in eight case study SSLP areas. Contrary to expectations, the quantitative data revealed no discernable short-term effect on the numbers of referrals, or on CPRs. Interview data showed broad agreement on the potential impact of preventative work undertaken by SSLPs and many respondents believed that it was too early to draw conclusions. Alternatively, the universal approach to prevention within the Sure Start areas and the attempts to provide non-stigmatising and non-intrusive community-based services may be ineffective in reducing the need for intensive support for families. The findings are discussed in relation to targeted prevention programmes and government policy intentions.
|Translated title of the contribution||Prevention in integrated children's services: the impact of sure start on referrals to social services and child protection registrations|
|Pages (from-to)||17 - 31|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Child Abuse Review|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2007|