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A children's author serving on an official commission on childcare noticed that many subcommittees were busily making recommendations around a central problem: 'It was generally agreed that the country was full of the wrong sort of people. There were strong opinions about what constituted a desirable citizenry and what should be done to children to procure one for the future.'

David Cameron's recent turn to domestic policy with his 'Can Parent' classes is to be welcomed. Repositioning parenting classes as support for all, rather than a penalty for 'poor parents' is a good first step to encourage uptake. The next will be to ensure the service reaches the vulnerable, as well as the proactive.

The well-being of young children can only be truly gauged when we consider their relationships with the whole family. So we must examine the current changes to grandparenting and what they mean for grandchildren.

The achievements of Sure Start Children's Centres in community life are spelled out by children's minister Dawn Primarolo.

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