Further information on early years intervention can be found on NorPIP's website at www.norpip.org.uk
Further information on early years intervention can be found on NorPIP's website at www.norpip.org.uk
Success For Troubled Families Programme (04 Feb 2013)
It's great news that Early Intervention is drastically reducing costs for councils around the country. The Troubled Families programme is taking important steps to help those families most in need effectively turn their lives around. This article features more details, facts and figures on the savings being made.
You can read all about it here.
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The Case For Solid Early Foundation (12 Dec 2012)
As part of the 2020 Conservatives series on 'The Opportunity Society', I outline the case for why delivering sound mental health is our nation's greatest challenge – and how early years intervention will achieve this. Read my paper below.
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Introducing NorPIP (09 May 2012)
As a new parent do you sometimes feel that you are at the end of your tether? I have been there, and I know how difficult the first few months can be with a new baby. Thankfully, help is at hand. The Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership (NorPIP) was founded last year with the express aim of supporting parents in the first two years of their baby's life.
Compared to most animals, human babies are born around two years premature! When a baby is born, not only is he unable to do anything for himself, but also his brain is barely developed; at birth babies have only the survival instinct, and rely on a caring adult to meet their needs. It is between the ages of six and 18 months old that the frontal cortex—the social part of the brain—starts to develop and puts on a huge growth spurt. That growth is literally stimulated by a loving relationship between baby and carer, and where a baby is neglected or abused, that brain development can be dramatically impaired, with lifelong consequences for the child, and later adult. Many of the social problems in Britain – bullying, anti-social behaviour, divorce, mental illness, crime and violence – have their roots in poor early attachment. Intervening early won't just give us a happier society, it will also save a fortune in the costs of taking children into care, policing our streets and dealing with the health problems that result from deep unhappiness.
NorPIP provides psychotherapeutic support for families—working normally with mum and baby together, but it can also include dad or other carers. The therapist will help mum come to terms with her own feelings about parenting and, most importantly, help her to gain a secure attachment to her baby. NorPIP therapists are quite literally there to help the parent to love their baby – it sounds so obvious, but the results are astonishing.
I am hosting a conference on Friday May 18 in Northamptonshire to highlight the vital importance of infant mental health, particularly to people who work with families. The conference is entitled 'The Social Consequences of Poor Infant Attachment – Two is Too Late'. It is being sponsored by The University of Northampton and is already a sell out, with delegates attending from across the UK as well as from overseas.
The keynote address will be given by Rt hon Iain Duncan Smith MP (who is also one of NORPIP's Patrons), and the speakers include the neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield on the development of the infant brain, the founder of Kids Company Camila Batmanghelidjh on the practical issues of what happens to children when it all goes wrong, and the psychologist Dr Michael Galbraith on Infant mental health and the financial cost to society of poor infant attachment.
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Social Consequences of Poor Infant Attachment - 'Two Is Too Late' (22 Feb 2012)
NORPIP are holding a one-day conference on Early Intervention. This lovely picture is of a happy, healthy mother interacting in a loving way with her baby. Sadly, there are too many mums and babies in the world who don't share this experience, for many reasons. Mums with post-natal depression, with chronic mental health problems, alcohol and chemical abuse, youth, poverty, and sometimes because they had a baby as "someone to love me" instead of the other way round. There is also the problem of repeated fostering whilst social services decide what to do. How much does this matter? The answer is, a lot.
There is a part of a baby's brain that is almost entirely undeveloped at birth. This is the 'social' part of the brain, which enables the growing baby, child and eventually adult to sustain relationships, to be emotionally secure, and to empathise with other people. When a baby is in a positive and loving relationship with a parent or carer, then this part of the baby's brain puts on a huge growth spurt from around 6 months old until around 12 months old. If a baby is neglected or abused or has a negative or inconsistent relationship with the parent, then this part of the brain suffers and may never grow adequately.
Research shows that the baby whose 'social brain' does not develop is likely, from a young age and throughout his or her life, to display anti-social behaviour, to be unable to regulate feelings of anger and/or depression, and to fail to build successful relationships. In fact, the evidence is so compelling that it is believed it is possible to predict two-thirds of later chronic criminality from behaviour already being shown at preschool age. Realistically, we have until the baby is two years old to begin to help.
In order to spread the word and bring the vital importance of infant mental health to the fore, particularly to people who work with families, on 18 May 2012 we are having a large conference, sponsored by The University of Northampton, called Social Consequences of Poor Infant Attachment... "Two Is Too Late".
The keynote address will be given by Iain Duncan Smith MP (one of our patrons), and there is a really wonderful list of speakers, including the neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield on the effect of neglect on a baby's brain, the founder of Kids Company Camila Batmanghelidjh on the practical issues of what happens to children when it all goes wrong, and the psychologist Dr Michael Galbraith on the financial cost to society.
The Northamptonshire Parent Infant Project (NORPIP) was started by Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, who is joint vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sure Start Children's Centres and was chair of OXPIP (The Oxford Parent Infant Project) for ten years. We have a team of specialist psychologists and therapists who work with mothers and their children under the age of two where there are attachment difficulties.
We would love to see you at the conference. You do not have to be a professional to attend.
Click here for tickets www.norpipconference.org.uk
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NORPIP – The Northamptonshire Parent Infant Project – was launched on 5 September 2011 - based in Towcester. We have a dedicated and experienced Board of Trustees who are committed to achieving the expansion of our service throughout Northamptonshire over the next 3 years. I am delighted that my dream of building parent infant projects across the country is getting underway at last.
NORPIP, like its sister charity, OXPIP, will tackle some of Society's most challenging issues. We know from the shocking rioting and looting on our streets in August that there is a desperate need to address the broken elements within our society. Young people who cannot control their impulses, who are violent and who have no moral compass, are like that for a reason....
It all boils down to the earliest relationships. The experiences of a new baby are literally hard wired into his or her brain by the age of two. Where a baby is loved and nurtured, he will grow up with the expectation that the world is generally a good place and people are generally kind. The baby who is abused, neglected or totally ignored, however, will literally fail to develop a healthy brain – the frontal cortex (the bit that enables us to empathise with others and to form relationships) will not grow properly. This is because this part of the brain has its peak period of growth between 6 and 18 months of age, and growth is dependent on the stimulation of a loving relationship with a primary carer.
A baby that does not achieve a secure bond with his primary carer (usually his Mum) means he is unlikely to grow into an emotionally balanced adult. Instead he is likely to be predisposed to a life of crime, self harm, drug abuse and aggression. His brain has not been taught the human traits of empathy, responsibility and love. Before the age of 2 the brain is sponge like in its capacity to soak up the stimulation it receives but deprived of the right sort of attention, the emotional part, the frontal cortex, fails to develop adequately. Our prisons, our psychiatric hospitals and our homeless hostels are full of the evidence of poor early relationships. And worse still, poor early relationships are passed from one generation to another creating a cycle of misery that costs our society dearly.
NORPIP will offer intensive therapeutic counseling to parents and their babies in Northamptonshire. We will support families by working with parent and baby together to build a positive relationship that will meet the needs of the baby. The work of OXPIP in Oxfordshire over the past 12 years shows that our methods work – potentially disastrous relationships between baby and those responsible for his development have been completely turned around in a highly cost effective way. Prevention is not just kinder, but it is also much cheaper than cure.
NORPIP will initially be operating from Victoria House in Towcester and Vanessa Bird is our Office Manager. Please contact me NOW if you have any enquiries for NORPIP – if you would like to access our services, if you would like to volunteer to help us, or if you would like to learn more, please get in touch.
I'm convinced that Parent Infant Projects can offer a massive contribution to mending our broken society.
OXPIP (the Oxford Parent-Infant Project) is a charity that makes a significant difference to the lives of many families. I was honoured to serve as Chairman of Trustees between 2001 and 2009, overseeing a prolonged period of growth for the charity. OXPIP is now at a stage where it is regularly mentioned by leading think tanks close to the policy making process, and has even appeared in parliamentary reports, specifically centering around the Childcare Bill.
OXPIP has existed since 1998 to 'help Parents bond with their babies and thereby to promote lifelong emotional wellbeing'. Our results, evaluated by the University of Warwick, are exceptionally good.
But why is the work so important?
It is now believed that there are two very significant impacts on a baby if it does not have a positive relationship with its parent. These can do lifelong damage both to the baby's mental health and to its tendency to suffer physical illness.
The first impact is that a neglected baby has no means, by itself, to soothe its own feelings. It can only scream itself to a point of exhaustion, and then take refuge in sleep. Unchecked crying for hours will cause the baby's body to react by producing increased levels of Cortisol, the stress hormone. In excessive amounts this hormone actually damages the baby's immune system and destroys some of its brain cells.
The second impact, which is profound, is that when a baby is born, there is a part of its brain that is almost entirely undeveloped. This is the 'social' part of the brain. It is the part that enables the growing baby/child and eventually adult to sustain relationships, to be emotionally secure, and to empathise with other people.
When a baby is in a 'positive' relationship with its key carer, then this part of the baby's brain puts on a huge growth spurt when it is around 6 months old, until it is about 18 months old. If a baby has a negative or inconsistent relationship with the carer, then this part of the brain literally does not grow, and may never grow.
Research shows that a baby whose social brain does not develop, has a high likelihood, from a young age and throughout his or her life, to display anti-social behaviour, to be unable to regulate feelings of anger and/or depression, and to fail to build successful relationships.
In fact, the evidence is so compelling, that it is believed you can actually predict two thirds of later chronic criminality by behaviour being shown at kindergarten age.
What this research leads to is the conclusion that sociopaths are not born, but they are created by their earliest experiences. To put it another way, many of the people who will be abusing children, committing crimes, becoming addicted to drugs, and developing psychological problems in 15 years time are themselves being ill treated, neglected and abused right now.
The greatest tragedy of all is that those who failed to bond with their own parents are very unlikely to be able to form successful attachments with their own babies, so there is a cycle of misery passed down the generations.
OXPIP has three aims:
1. to provide therapeutic counselling for babies and their carers within the first two years of the baby's life
2. to provide training for health care and social services professionals on identifying and supporting the attachment process
3. to campaign for national recognition of the critical importance of early infant attachment.
I believe there are five key ways in which Government can support and promote a better society in Britain:
First, what a baby needs is the right environment for secure attachment. Midwives and health visitors should be trained in the importance of early attachment and should have the emotional wellbeing of the baby in mind as much as his physical well-being.Secondly, specialist parent-infant support in every PCT should be available for onward referral from Social Workers, GPs, Health Visitors and Midwives. Third, where a baby spends more than a few hours a day in a child care environment, there should be protocols within the nursery that ensure the attachment needs of the baby are met. Fourth, training in early attachment for childcare workers is critical. The turnover of staff in nurseries is high, and often staff are themselves young and inexperienced. All these facts contribute to a greater risk of 'insensitive' care. Finally, where the baby cannot be safely left at home and social services intervention is necessary, there should be much more focus on a swift resolution.
If you want any more information on OXPIP, you can find many more articles on the charity on this website, or visit them directly at http://oxpip.org.uk/.
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RT @Telegraph: So called 'banter' is a threat to civilisation, says @tomchivers http://t.co/BTgc4DXXdx
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@AmateurMummy @NoMorePage3. Sorry for no reply - I'm looking into it and will email ASAP
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