A generation of babies is at risk of COVID-19 fall out without a concerted effort from local support systems to pull together to work to improve outcomes for the youngest in our society, a report published today reveals.
'Working for babies: Lockdown lessons from local systems' commissioned by the First 1001 Days Movement reviews the response to the COVID-19 pandemic for babies by local health and social care systems.
The report highlights how there are often "baby blind-spots" where babies' needs are overlooked in policy, planning and funding. It also shows the importance of factors which have been known for a long time to be critical in supporting 0-2s: clear and committed leadership; mature and strong local partnerships; and professionals who are connected to each other and to their communities and empowered to meet families' needs. The First 1001 Days Movement is now calling for governments across the UK to focus on how they can develop these important factors, so that all babies live in a 'baby-positive' local system which ensures they get the best start in life.
The GP Care Group is interested in the First 1001 days report for the reasons below.
0-19 Service Development Lead, Jenny Gilmour said: "The Working for Babies reports links directly with our Health Visiting and Family Nurse Partnership services by supporting new parents. This has been even more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is why we've been working in partnership with Tower Hamlets Together and voluntary organisations across the wider elements of Early Years and Children's Centres to promote health and improve health outcomes for children, young people and their families across Tower Hamlets. Our services have also been working with families to deliver early universal assessment and identification of needs and achieving delivery of early intervention.
A lifelong benefit of babies having healthy mental health provided within a loving relationship with parents, family, carers and local community allows a positive impact on subsequent lifelong health, good education and access to employment."
Quotes from the Working For Babies report:
"Being a baby or toddler was a lockdown 'risk factor' in its own terms. Those who have been exposed to other risk factors in addition...could be considered as having been subject to 'double jeopardy'".
"I'm not sure there was any thinking about babies' needs. We heard a lot about school age children and parents working from home but little about babies' needs" - Practitioner.
You can read the report here