Working for babies: Lockdown lessons from local systems

Parent Infant Foundation/ First 1001 days Movement, Isos Partnership, January 2021

This new report summarises the impacts on babies of COVID-19 and the Spring 2020 national lockdown, and explores how local systems responded to the challenges presented by COVID-19. It seeks to understand the factors which have shaped the response by services which support babies and their families, and aims to ensure that lessons are learned for the future of service provision for this age group.

The report presents a varied picture across the UK, with evidence that:

  • “hidden harms” of the Spring lockdown on 0-2s were broad andsignificant, and experienced unevenly depending on family circumstances and background.
  • historically inadequate or insecure funding, and a rising tide of need, has inhibited the ability of some services and areas to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
  • there were often ‘baby blind-spots’ where babies’ needs were overlooked in policy, planning and funding.

The report also draws on a survey of 235 senior leaders of pregnancy and 0-2 services across the UK. The survey findings showed that:

  • Almost all (98%)of the survey respondents said babies their organisation works with had been impacted by parental anxiety, stress or depression which was affecting bonding and responsive care.
  • 78% of respondents were clear that the government in their nation had not done enough for the under 2s, creating this ‘baby blind-spot’.
  • The majority (80%) said thatsome babies they work with had experienced increased exposure to domestic conflict, child abuse or neglect, with29% saying manybabies they work with had been impacted.