Start for Life

The UK government has just published its Start for Life review, led by Andrea Leadsom, MP and Early Years Advisor.

The review lays out a commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of babies and infants in the first 1001 days of life from conception to two. It paves the way for a universal offer in England of health visiting, midwifery, breastfeeding and mental health support services in every locality. Hubs will  be set up where families can access public and third sector services.  The ‘red book’, each child’s personal health record, will be digitalised, and support for parents will be increased through digital resources that will provide peer-reviewed information and signposting to local and national services.
 The vision of Start for Life is to tackle the health and educational inequalities that have become more pronounced in recent years, and especially since the start of the pandemic. The review prioritises the development of a skilled, well-resourced and confident workforce. In its response to the review, the Parent-Infant Foundation argues for the development of a specialist workforce of psychologists and psychotherapists to deliver services to families facing severe and persistent challenges. These specialists could also offer training, consultation and supervision to the wider workforce to help them support families with complex needs.

Read more: The Best Start for Life: A vision for the 1,001 critical days. Available at:

Relevant articles in the IJBPE:

Balbernie, R. (2013)  Poised to connect: How early relationships affect brain development. IJBPE, Volume 1 Issue 1:26-28.

Balbernie, R. (2014) How maltreatment affects development in the early years. IJBPE, Volume 1 Issue 2:23-26.

Perry, B., Jackson, A. (2018) Long and winding road: From neuroscience to policy, program and practice. IJBPE, Volume 6, Issue 1:3-4.

Shah, N. (2020) We all need to step up to support moms (Guest Editorial). IJBPE, Volume 7, Issue 2:5.

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