One in ten babies at risk and need early identification, says Blair

Health visitors or children’s centre workers will visit babies from “dysfunctional” families from birth for up to two years, under plans announced by the prime minister today.

In a speech on social exclusion, Tony Blair said more than one in ten newly born children were at risk and needed early identification.

He denied the move would “stigmatise” the child or family.

Blair said: “Instead of waiting until the child goes off the rails, we should act early enough, with the right help, support and disciplined framework for the family, to prevent it.”

He revealed the government’s social exclusion action plan, due to be published next week, would focus on looked-after children, families with complex problems, teenage pregnancies and mental health patients.

Blair also said the forthcoming looked-after children’s green paper would promote an expansion of lead professionals holding pooled budgets for at-risk children.

The voluntary sector has responded swiftly to Blair’s speech.

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