We know that parents and children value the support and range of services that children’s centres offer. Every day we see how children’s centres make a difference to families and help to give children the best start in life.

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Like many local services, children’s centres are facing a difficult period. Reductions in local authority budgets have presented significant new challenges.  

We believe that children’s centres should and can retain a vital role in supporting children and families in communities across England. To achieve this, the Beyond the Building briefing series considers how centres can innovate and develop to meet current and future challenges.

The briefings draw on research with staff working in children’s centres across England, and our experience in delivering centres and early help services.

Briefings: 

Data sharing

Crucial in getting any child or parent the help they need is having the right information to reach out to all parents and children. Data sharing is a long standing problem for children’s centres. We propose ways of improving data sharing from birth through to school which will be cost effective and easy to achieve. 

Read the briefing.

Focusing on the foundation years

The first years (0-5) of a child’s life are crucial for their development, health and future happiness. Children’s centres are already working well with young children. We show how this form of support can go further and make the most of resources across health and the early years.

Read the briefing.

Evolving models of children’s centres

As children’s centres face continued budget pressures we look at the current direction of travel for models of children’s centres and the challenges this is presenting. This briefing shows how the services children’s centres offer can be delivered in new ways across an area, going beyond accessing a single building.  

Read the briefing

There are no simple solutions to some of the challenges that children’s centres face. In many cases it will require a range of options and approaches.

We will be publishing blogs alongside each briefing. Our first blog is on the background to the Beyond the Building briefing series, and why children’s centres are so important.

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The Government’s Life Chances strategy is in development. Investing in children under 5 is the best way to ensure their future wellbeing and success.

In the most deprived areas of England, three out of five children walk through the school gates on their first day not ready to learn. Action for Children is committed to making sure every child has the love, support and opportunity to reach their potential.

Read more about our Fair by five campaign and sign up to be a campaigner and be there when we launch our Fair By Five campaign next month.  

Join the conversation.

Find out how you can become a campaigner, stay up to date with our latest tweets and join in the discussion on our blog.