What are Children's Centres?
Children's Centres aim to deliver better outcomes for young children and families. They are based on a commitment to improve the coordination, quantity and quality of services for young children. This stems from the belief that the joining up of services and disciplines such as education, care, family support and health is a key factor in determining good outcomes for children.
The Children's Centre approach is targeted at the needs of children under 5 years old. However, Centres may also offer services to a wider range where possible. All Children's Centres will offer access to the following core services:
- Early education integrated with childcare
- Family support and outreach to parents
- Child and family health services
In addition, they act as service hubs within the community for parents and providers of childcare services for children of all ages - offering a base for childminder networks and links to other day care provision, out of school clubs and extended schools. Centres also have links with training and education providers, JobCentre Plus and the Children's Information Service.
Research and evaluation on Children's Centres
Recent research by 4Children shows evidence of the positive impact that children centres have on the lives and outcomes of children and families:
For more information on the role children's centres play in improving outcomes for children, please see the evidence review published in July 2012 by the Institute of Health Equity:
You can also see the first report from the Evaluation of Children Centres in England (ECCE) study: