A Westminster Hall debate on ‘Infant Mental Health Week 2022’ has been scheduled for 16 June 2022 at 3-4:30pm. The debate has been initiated by Andrea Leadsom MP.

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 13 – 19 June 2022 on the theme of ‘Understanding Early Trauma’. The week is co-ordinated by the Parent Infant Foundation, a charity that brings together the infant mental health sector and campaigns for policy change.

The Parent Infant Foundation have produced a new report on Understanding early trauma and the importance of early relationships and a new film available on YouTube.

Early Intervention

Early intervention is a public policy approach to identify and support children and their families at an early stage, to prevent problems developing later in life, such as poor physical and mental health, low educational attainment, crime and anti-social behaviour.

In March 2021, a Government commissioned review into early years development, led by Angela Leadsom, set out six key areas for action to reduce health inequalities in the first 1,001 days of life.

The issue of early intervention has also been championed by the First 1001 Days APPG, a cross-party group of MPs and Members of the House of Lords, which focuses on provision during the period from conception to age two.

An Early Day Motion on Giving every child the best start in life was tabled on 12 May 2021 and was signed by 151 members.

The Commons Library has published a briefing on Early intervention: policy and provision (CBP-7647) , which analyses early intervention policies aimed at parents and children from conception to age five, covering health, education, social development and financial benefits. The paper also looks at broader arguments around early intervention as a policy approach.

The Commons Library briefing on Early intervention: a background paper (CBP-9292)  provides an introductory overview of the development of early intervention policies, their evidence-base and their impact.

Further reading

Josh MacAlister, Final Report – The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, May 2022. See page 151 on adverse childhood experiences and pages 170-176 on trauma.

Alma Economics, The social cost of adverse outcomes of children who need a social worker (PDF), November 2021.

WAVE Trust, Age 2 to 18 – systems to protect children from severe disadvantage, June 2018

WAVE Trust, What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)? | WAVE Trust

The UK Trauma Council have published a range of online resources on Childhood Trauma and the Brain.

NSPCC, Understanding child brain development | NSPCC Learning

Garner, A., & Yogman, M. (2021). Preventing Childhood Toxic Stress: Partnering With Families and Communities to Promote Relational Health. Pediatrics 148, no. 2.

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