A joint seminar with the Mile End Institute, Queen May College, London, entitled ‘Parents, Poverty and the State’, was held in the Graduate Centre on May 23rd at which the main speaker was Naomi Eisenstadt, first director of SureStart UK. She described her experiences after arrival from the US of working in family centres in Edinburgh and Buckinghamshire and how she was asked to direct the national SureStart early years programme for children and families initiated by the Labour Government of 1997. She outlined the conditions necessary for successful implementation at national and local levels and outlined the benefits that SureStart offered alongside other statutory and voluntary services, explaining how research evidence on early child development influenced what happened. Carl Purcell from the Policy Institute at King's College, London then gave details of the austerity policies implemented by the UK government since 2010 and how these have affected services for children and families, especially those with special needs or living in poverty. Naomi's slides can be read here, and Carl's here.