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Home Publications The health impacts of early childhood interventions: evidence from Sure Start

The health impacts of early childhood interventions: evidence from Sure Start

IFS Working Paper W21/25

This paper evaluates the short- and medium-term health impacts of offering families with children under 5 universal access to centres providing childcare, health services, parenting support and parental job assistance. Increased access to these centres during early childhood increases the probability of hospitalisation for infants in the local area. As children age this effect turns negative and grows larger through primary and secondary school. The impacts are concentrated among boys from the poorest areas. The reductions in hospitalisations are driven by reduced infections, injuries, and mental health. The impacts during post-childcare age sug-gest that operating mechanisms are stronger immune systems, safer parenting practices and home environments, and improved emotional and behavioural development among children.

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Briefing note
Over the last two decades, Sure Start Children’s Centres (and their predecessors, Sure Start Local Programmes) have been one of the most important policy programmes in the early years in England. These centres operate as ‘one-stop shops’ for families with children under 5, bringing together a ...
Press release
New IFS research finds that one of England’s biggest early years programmes delivered long-lasting health benefits for children through their teenage years. Taken together, the savings from reduced hospitalisations up to age 15 offset around 31% of spending on the programme.