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Disabled children (0–3 years) and integrated services – the impact of Early Support

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Abstract

Early Support (ES) is the flagship government programme aimed at improving multi-agency working with, and supporting enhanced outcomes for, children with a disability 0–3 years and their families. This paper draws on results from the recently completed Department for Education and Skills commissioned national evaluation of ES involving 46 pathfinder projects throughout England. Data were collected by survey at two points in time (9 months apart), by focus groups with service providers and parents, and through secondary data analyses, including exploratory economic evaluation. This paper outlines some of the key findings pertaining to the relationship between integrated children's services and the impact of ES. As such, we address three concerns: what the evidence from ES can tell us about the relationships between universal and targeted provision within integrated children's service structures, the relationship between specific short-term initiatives and their longer-term sustainability within integrated children's services structures and the potential costs and benefits of ES looking forward to its implementation on a national basis within an integrated children's services environment. Although focused primarily on children with a disability in the early years, implications will be drawn for the implementation of Lead Professional Guidance and the Common Assessment Framework more generically.
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Keywords: Early Support; children with a disability; integrated children's services; progressive universalism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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