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Evaluation and Value of Sure Start
  1. Edward Melhuish*,
  2. Jay Belsky,
  3. Jacqueline Barnes
  1. Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom
  1. Correspondence to: Edward Melhuish, Birkbeck, /7 Bedford Square, /London, /WC1B 3RA, United Kingdom; e.melhuish{at}


A decade ago the Cross-Departmental Review of Services for Young Children concluded that disadvantage among young children was increasing and when early intervention was undertaken it was likely that poor outcomes could be prevented.[1] Further it noted that current services were uncoordinated and patchy and recommended there be a change in service design and delivery. Programmes should be jointly planned by all relevant bodies, and be area-based, with all children under four and their families in an area being clients. In July 1998, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, introduced Sure Start aimed at providing quality services for children under four and their parents.[2] Programmes were 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 (official poverty line).[3]

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