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Don't take early intervention for granted

When the Deputy Prime Minister made the welcome announcement at the Liberal Democrat conference that £100m of capital funding would go to help nurseries and childminders increase the number of places they offer, it felt like the party conference season was getting off to a promising start for early intervention.

Vetting agency must foster responsibility

Keeping children safe from abuse is always a highly charged topic. It is naturally the first priority of most parents. It is vital for children's services departments, since a high-profile child abuse case causes untold damage not just to the child but to the whole service.

A very tall order with a short deadline

Across the country, newly formed local teams are embarking on a colossal exercise. In every area, local authorities have until next month to quantify how many troubled families live in each area and set out how they are going to help them turn their lives around.

Sure Start is essential for vulnerable families

I have been a keen supporter of Sure Start from the start. It seemed obvious to me from what I saw in Sure Start centres that the most disadvantaged children would not only get a better start in life, but that this would have a lasting beneficial impact.

Two-year-old places are not deliverable

We all know the benefits of early education. The government's desire to extend the free entitlement to more two-year-olds is therefore laudable, but I'm not sure it's currently deliverable.

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