Plans to close children’s centres shows we are not ‘serious about tackling inequality’ – Zeichner

The proposed closure of four Cambridge children’s centres shows we are not serious about tackling inequality and improving family health, according to local MP Daniel Zeichner.

The MP was responding to proposals outlined in a consultation currently available to the public.

Those who came to our April Saturday morning Our Cambridge meeting with Pat Mackenzie heard about her Kings Hedges Family Support Project which she founded in 1994 .

Now you can support projects like the King’s Hedges Family Support scheme by taking part in the consultation.

Image by Jason Patel on Flickr.

Austerity impacts children’s services

Cambridge Commons expert David Plank points out that this forms part of wide ranging budget cuts to children’s services over the past five years.

He offers his technical opinion in an information note on children and young people in Cambridgeshire County Council’s care, sparked by concerns raised by the Local Government Association.

Zeichner opposition

Of the proposals to cut children’s centres, Daniel Zeichner MP said: ‘Children’s Centres are a vital source of advice and practical support for families, especially disadvantaged families. For all the governments rhetoric on improving the life chances of all our children, no matter their background, the reality is that national spending cuts of almost 50% since 2010 have already meant the closure of hundreds of children’s centres and some services reduced to a skeleton level.’

‘These proposals would see the number of children’s centres across the county slashed to just a quarter of existing of existing provision with four being lost in Cambridge. The County Council’s own data shows how valued these centres are as places where young families can come together to access support services, improve their knowledge of parenting and help children develop their confidence and learning.’ 

‘If we are serious about tackling inequality between the children of families in the greatest need and their peers and improving child and family health we have to maintain our centres and not cloak closures under the pretence of remodelling and ‘pop up’ provision’.

Recent research on children

During the 90s many groups e.g. National Children’s Bureau, used research evidence to persuade the future Labour government to prioritise the early years. Some of this research followed cohorts of children into adulthood. This publication subsequently gave an overview.

Neuro-scientific evidence regarding crucial ‘wiring’ of the brain in the first 3 years of life has also influenced attitudes to early years’ provision.

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