A group of cross-party MPs in the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee is calling for an “early years revolution” to improve support and services for children in England in the first 1000 days of life. In a new report, the MPs recommend that the Government produces a long-term strategy for the first 1000 days of life, setting demanding goals to reduce adverse childhood experiences, improve school readiness and reduce infant mortality and child poverty.
The Committee also wants all local authorities to develop plans - with the local NHS, communities and the voluntary sector - to implement this strategy, bringing improved support for children, parents and families in their area.
The report also calls for the Government's Healthy Child Programme to be expanded to focus on the health of the whole family, begin before conception, deliver a greater continuity of care for children, parents and families during this period and extend visits beyond age 2½ years. Under the current programme, all families are entitled to five visits from health visiting services up to age 2½ years. The Committee recommends that an extra visit should be introduced at age 3-3½ years to check children are on course to achieve the level of development deemed necessary to start school.