Lack of support during first year ‘undermines’ drive to tackle inequalities

The government’s failure to provide adequate levels of support
for parents during pregnancy and a child’s first year is
undermining financial initiatives to tackle childhood inequalities,
a leading independent thinktank has warned, writes Amy

A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research said that
government measures such as the baby tax credit and child tax
credit are being undermined by ministers’ failures to make
provision of emotional and social support to parents with young
children a priority.

“Fearful of being branded as a ‘nanny state’, Labour has been
too cautious on family policy,” said report author Lisa
Harker. Co-author Liz Kendall added that, at present, most
parenting programmes were for parents of children who already had
behavioural difficulties.

In order to improve support levels, the report recommends that
health visitors and midwives take on a more holistic approach,
moving away from purely monitoring children’s health into providing
social and emotional support to parents. It also recommends the
creation of a home visitor service providing parents with an ‘on
your side’ advocate.

‘An Equal Start?’ from 0845 458 9910

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