Recognising the importance of a child's first five years

If we truly recognised the life-determining importance of a child’s early years, we would stop at nothing to ensure parents and carers are supported and nurtured in their vital role.

Back in 2018, we worked with Family Action on 100 Conversations, partnering with early years settings across the UK to talk with over 300 parents and carers about their hopes and concerns, to better shape support and services.

It was crystal clear from those conversations that parents and carers see support from family, friends and the local community as a key element to help them in their parenting. 

However, the report today by the Royal Foundation underlines just how precarious that support is right now, with parental loneliness rocketing from 38% to 63%, compounded by a growing sense of being unable to ask for help.

If it was important to listen to parents and carers in 2018, it is absolutely critical now. 

Through projects such as our Lambeth Early Action Partnership in South London, we are generating evidence about what works to sustain parents' and carers' mental health and wellbeing, even in the most deprived areas, where today's report shows parental loneliness to be rising fastest.

Working alongside the Royal Foundation and other partners in the sector, together we can drive a step change in the way our society understands the early years and invests in support and services that will sustain parents and carers to deliver a better childhood for the UK.