Children’s Centres face “an undercurrent of danger” according to an influential new report from 4Children.
The Children’s Centres Census 2013 describes an alarming situation where 73% of Centres are supporting more families than twelve months ago – but 66% of Centres have seen their budgets cut.
For the first time Children’s Centres supported over 1,000,000 families, and the report praises Centre staff for doing a “remarkable job” – but they have had to do so against “a continued, steady pattern of Centre closures and service reductions.”
The Census contains vital analysis of critical issues such as the role of Children’s Centres in childcare, service integration and the Troubled Families initiative. But sadly further problems lie ahead: “Children’s Centres will become extremely vulnerable if unprotected. It is possible that the on-going and steady rise in the number of Centres being closed will begin to accelerate.”
Labour Friends of Sure Start warmly welcomes this excellent report and supports all twelve of its recommendations.