21st January 2021
Preliminary insights of the Early Years Healthy Development Review were outlined by Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP at the APPG on Conception to age two meeting, held on Tuesday 19 January 2021
At the online APPG, the First 1001 Days Movement ‘s Working for Babies: Lockdown lessons from local systems report was formally launched – read our news story on this.
Speaking at the online event, Andrea Leadsom said that the report findings ‘chime totally’ with what the Early Years Healthy Development Review has found.
The F1001D report presented hard-hitting findings about the direct and indirect harm to babies, young children and their families caused by the pandemic during the Spring 2020 lockdown. These “hidden harms” were broad and significant, and experienced unevenly depending on family circumstances and background. The report also highlighted how there are often ‘baby blind-spots’ where babies’ needs are overlooked in policy, planning and funding.
Andrea Leadsom’s Early Years Healthy Development Review, due to be published at the end of February, will look at issues around joining up services; improving the use of digital services to reach parents; data sharing and local leadership.
She told the APPG attendees that evidence is emerging that services for babies have been ‘particularly better’ since the latter part of last year, when second and third lockdowns took place, largely because staff were not moved away as much as they had been in the first lockdown.
The Early Years Healthy Development Review will give six recommendations which, by the time it is launched in February, Andrea Leadsom hopes will gain the approval of all the political parties so that this early years review will be ‘the one that sticks and endures’ for many years to come.
She talked about the possibilities of harnessing the benefits of digital technology to provide consistent and joined-up support to new parents. The use of data-sharing will enable professionals to provide ‘much more focused support on what families need’ and less time will be spent for parents retelling their story to different professionals.
Andrea Leadsom thanked early years professionals for their amazing work during the lockdowns ‘who have done so much to support new families in such difficult period’ and to reassure them that ‘these lessons would be learnt’ and reflected in the Early Years Healthy Development Review.