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Boost to Sure Start

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Three thousand extra outreach workers are to be drafted into Sure Start children’s centres in the nation’s most deprived areas, the government announced today.

The move will see two extra staff added at 1,500 centres in the most challenging neighbourhoods.

It is part of a package announced by Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families.

Mr Balls also unveiled an extra£7m to provide taining for childcare workers and staff guidance on working with young people from black and ethnic minorities.

Mr Balls said that the existing Sure Start centres did a good job, but acknowledged that more work could be done.

“I want to make sure all families can benefit - which is why we are putting in place a package of measures, backed up with funding and new outreach workers to reach out to the most disadvantaged families,” he said.

The Department for Children, Schools & Families also released the findings of research by the University of London’s Birkbeck College that showed children living in Sure Start areas were better behaved and more independent.

The programme was launched in 1999 and currently has almost 2,500 centres open. The government aims to add an extra 1,000 to that figure by 2010.

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