New Sure Start programmes and 900 neighbourhood nurseries for de-prived babies and toddlers have been announced by the Government.
Ministers claim that by 2004, Sure Start will reach more than 400,000 under-fours - a third of those currently living in poverty. The 66 new schemes, bringing the total to 260, will provide family support, plus advice on children's development, health services and early learning.
arents will have access to childcare lessons, speech therapists, health visitors, and purpose-built family centres. The pound;542 million programmes, a major part of the drive to end child poverty, have to achieve targets such as reducing the numbers on child support registers.
The announcement came as the Childcare Commission, chaired by ex-minister Harriet Harman, called for 10,000 new children's centres.