Children’s Services leaders in York are celebrating after the work of the city’s Children’s Centres was praised in a national parliamentary report.
The report, Best Practice for a Sure Start: The Way Forward for Children’s Centres, from the All Party Parliamentary Sure Start Group, looks at best practice across the country’s Children’s Centres and makes recommendations to ensure that the Centres can continue to improve the life chances of children in the future.
York’s innovative scheme to allow births to be registered at two of its Children’s Centres (The Avenues and Hob Moor) – one of only three authorities in the country to do so – is highlighted in the report as best practice. The study suggests that being able to register a child’s birth at a Children’s Centre can increase awareness of the services available there, help encourage fathers to get involved, reduce the stigma of visiting a children’s centre and make birth registration more accessible.
Councillor Janet Looker, Cabinet member for Education, Children and Young People, City of York Council, said: “I’m delighted that the innovative work of the city’s Sure Start Children’s Centre team has been recognised in a national report. In York, we have been trialling new ways of birth registrations for some time, and were one of the first authorities in the country to facilitate registrations in a supermarket. Registration in Children’s Centres has proven very popular with parents and staff and is a great way of maximising the use of these important community facilities.
Paula Richardson, Sure Start Children’s Centre manager, City of York Council, said: “We’ve had some great feedback from parents registering their babies’ births at our Children’s Centres and we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of parents registered to receive Sure Start services at those centres which offer birth registration. The all-parliamentary report contains some interesting examples of national best practice and we’ll be looking at other ways we can improve the service we offer for local parents and their children.”
York has a total of nine Sure Start Children’s Centres across the city. The ‘core purpose’ of a Children’s Centre is to improve outcomes for young children and their families and reduce inequalities between families in the greatest need and their peers in:
• Child development and school readiness;
• Parenting aspirations and parenting skills; and
• Child and family health and life chances