The framework builds on research commissioned by 4Children from Professor Michael Marmot of University College London (UCL) and its report An Equal Start, which set out the most important outcomes children’s centres should be striving for in order to give all children positive early-years experiences, including on children’s health and development and parent–child relationships.
Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children said; “We will be drawing on the findings of this independent academic study to help us to continually improve practice within our own centres and ensure they remain continually focused on achieving the best outcomes for the families we serve. I hope that these measures will also serve as a useful tool to others in evaluating their own assessment frameworks and, more broadly, to help to improve understanding around the defined and central role that children’s centres play in supporting families across a wide range of areas.”
Measuring What Matters, a guide for children’s centres has been carried out at a time when children’s centres are increasingly asked to demonstrate their value to their local communities about the positive outcomes they are achieving for children and families. However decreasing resources in many areas of the country are increasing the challenge of achieving this.
“Most people working in the sector know first-hand the enormous contribution that children’s centres make towards supporting vulnerable children, improving social mobility and strengthening families. However, with the undercurrent of threats from local funding pressures, it’s more important than ever for all children’s centre providers are able to demonstrate a clear evidence based case for continued family support based on the impact they make, says Ann Longfield.
Dr Angela Donkin, UCL Institute of Health Equity, said: “This report sets out the best measures available for monitoring progress on important aspects of children’s development, parenting and the environment in which they live. If local areas, and the services within them, utilise the same reliable measurement standards, this will drive forward improvements in children’s outcomes and build the evidence base on what works. However this will be of little value if only a few children benefit. We encourage local areas to continue to invest in effective early years services and children’s centres that are accessible to all.”
The research is being launched on Monday 17 March at a lunchtime event held in Westminster Central Hall.
For further information or to request a place at the event, please contact Zara Bishop at Zara.Bishop@4Children.org.uk 0207 522 6986 or Julie.Evans@4Children.org.uk / 020 7522 6928 or 0791 787 0641.