A few months ago, I was asked by the Prime Minister to chair an early years family support group, and I was truly delighted to do so.
Working right across Government – with Health, Education, Treasury, Community & Local Government, the Home Office and others – we are trying to improve life outcomes for all our children in every corner of the country. There is so much evidence that shows that by getting support right in the earliest days of a child’s life from conception to the age of two, what we call the first 1001 critical days, we can have a hugely positive impact on an individual’s lifelong emotional and mental health as they grow and develop into adulthood, and then parents themselves.
As anyone who knows me, or has heard me speak on the subject, will know, working to give every baby the best start in life is one of my absolute passions and a driving force behind why I came into politics. In 2011, I founded a charity in Northamptonshire (NorPIP) which supports parents-to-be and parents with children under two to establish great relationships with their babies to get them off to the best start in life, and in 2012 I launched a national body (PIP UK) to support this work and expand the charity nationwide. And in 2013, I launched the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto with cross-party support which outlined a number of policy changes to bring all ante, peri and postnatal services for families together. Since then, I have continued to be a champion and a voice for babies and their parents, and I am so pleased to be working now with some of the fantastic people I have met along my journey to bring about positive and long-lasting change.
So, through this taskforce, I am looking at what more can be done to improve all of those outcomes for families, and to allow each baby - through secure early attachment - to maximise his or her potential and become the best version of themselves they can be.
We will be putting forward our recommendations in the coming weeks and months, and I look forward to working together with colleagues across all parties in the Common to deliver on our shared ambition to give every baby the best start in life.