Better Support For Families

Yesterday afternoon in the House of Commons, I led a debate on the work of the Inter Ministerial Group on Early Years Family Support that I chaired as Leader of the Commons.

Given my long experience in the early years space – as Chairman and Trustee of the Oxford Parent Infant Project and Founding Patron of Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership and national charity PIP UK, as well as the founder of the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto in Parliament, the Prime Minister Theresa May asked me to lead a cross-Whitehall Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) focused on improving support for parents and their babies in the 1001 Critical Days.

The IMG met regularly and comprised Ministers from Health and Social Care; Education; the Home Office; Housing, Communities & Local Government; and Work & Pensions. Before I stood down as Leader of the Commons, the IMG reported its recommendations to the Government, and these are now sat with the relevant Secretaries of State for approval.

If we can, as a society, get support for parents and babies right in the earliest period, we can have a truly transformative and life-changing impact for so many people.

The period from conception to age 2 is when so many of a person’s lifelong emotional and physical health outcomes are decided, and much depends on the way a baby’s brain develops in that 1001 Critical Days.

Secure attachment to a loving adult carer has a lifelong beneficial impact on the baby’s developing emotional health, and can create a positive ripple effect across society.

I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to lead the debate yesterday on this critically important policy area, and was so grateful to the MPs from right across the House who spoke in support.

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity in the Chamber to highlight the work that we did in the Inter Ministerial Group, and to discuss the specific recommendations we made.

I asked the Minister to commit to reporting back on these recommendations before the House returns from Summer Recess, and to make a Statement from the Floor of the House as soon as he is able, and I was grateful for his commitment on both of these points.

You can watch my opening remarks below, and read a full transcript of the debate here.