A new framework to maximise children's life chances in the UK
UCL Consultants, UCL Institute of Health Equality and 4Children work to improve child development in the UK
13 November 2013
It is widely believed that inequalities in early childhood can often set the pattern for a child's later life. However, without an evidenced based, user-friendly outcomes framework it has been difficult for everyone involved, from parents to professionals, to assess the impact of children's centres on young children and their families.
This is why Dr Jessica Allen and Dr Angela Donkin of UCL's Institute of Health Equity, with the assistance of UCL Consultants, are currently working with 4Children to develop such a framework.
Cameron Logan, Contract Manager for this project for UCL Consultants, commented that the project got off to a flying start, which augurs well for its success: "The speed and ease with which the terms for this important work were agreed and implemented was highly gratifying."
The framework, which looks at which outcomes are particularly important in the early years for children's development and how to successfully develop them, will be a useful tool in a number of key ways. These include:
- supporting practitioners, commissioners, parents and others to develop pathways for different groups of children and families, and tackle those early inequalities
- providing data to children's centre managers and staff that will empower them to make decisions about their programmes and services and their reach
- assisting local leaders and practitioners to analyse and decide their local priorities and then design programmes to achieve them.
By helping children's centres to maximise their value by focussing their efforts on the most effective ways of improving children's lives, this tool can be a force for good as children's centres move into a new phase.
Cameron concluded: "It was great to help with the implementation of a project that will hopefully have a significant impact on local children's centres and develop a framework that will benefit child development in our communities."
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