What difference will the first years make to a children’s life? All the difference in the world.

Posted by Dan Breslin / Tuesday 15 December 2015 / Early intervention

The earliest experiences shape a baby’s brain development. They will have a lifelong impact on mental and emotional health. Children who fall behind during the first years of life are likely to fall even further behind, rather than catch up.

The Government has said it will produce a strategy for improving a child’s life chances. We believe this must begin with the early years, making today’s re-launch of The 1001 Critical Days Manifesto very timely.

Action for Children is pleased to have supported 1001 Critical Days since it was first published February 2015. Its recommendations include evidence-based services, specialist support for mothers with a history of mental health problems and better understanding of need in local communities. These are all ways that government, both national and local, can really make a difference to children’s long-term outcomes. 

The manifesto praised children’s centres’ approach of welcoming all parents, then identifying and providing specialist support to those who need it. It proposed expanding that role to encompass an even wider range of early years health and support services. Our Beyond the Building briefing series demonstrated why children’s centres, with their independence and non-judgemental approach, can be so effective in identifying and helping children most in need.

Whether it be the future direction of children’s centres or improving life chances we need the early years, especially the crucial 1001 days, to be front and centre. 

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