Supporting new mums (and dads), and ensuring that every baby gets the best possible start in life, is one of my absolute passions, and pushing for positive change in this area was a key reason I chose to get involved in politics.
It was therefore a pleasure to be asked to speak today to the joint meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Children and the First 1001 Critical Days: Conception to Age Two; it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces in the room; many of them specialists and professionals in the spheres of early intervention, maternal and infant mental health.
The first 1001 critical days, from conception to age two, is the most important period of a child’s development. A secure attachment between a baby and his/her primary caregiver at this crucial time has a determining influence on a huge range of factors in later life.
So I was delighted, given my experience in this area, when the Prime Minister asked me to lead a brand new inter-ministerial group looking at how we, in Government, can bring about lasting change that will deliver on my ambition to ensure that we are doing everything we can to improve life outcomes for every baby. With colleagues from HM Treasury, the Department of Health & Social Care, the Department for Education, the Home Office, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, supported by an advisory group of specialists in the field, I believe we have a fantastic opportunity to radically change the way that we provide support in the earliest years to ensure better relationships between carers and their babies.