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Book Reviews and Other Media
July 2012

Providing a Sure Start: How Government Discovered Early Childhood

Author Affiliations


Author Affiliation: The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore Maryland.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(7):680. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.1905

The UK government initiative Sure Start may be the most important contemporary nationwide effort to address the needs of preschool-aged children, and this volume by Naomi Eisenstadt tells the inside story of its gestation, birth, and first decade of life. Conceived at the beginning of the administration of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sure Start was launched in 1999; by 2010, it served 2.5 million children through 3500 children's centers. Establishing this new effort required an unprecedented level of governmental planning, community involvement, interdisciplinary collaboration, and agency cooperation (what the British call “joining up”). This book covers that process, from policy making to implementation to evaluation. There are lessons to be drawn for the United States, where such a national investment in early life has yet to take place.

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