Our call on Government to keep babies safe
Today, 43 charities and professional bodies joined together to call on national and local decision makers to give urgent attention to the wellbeing of babies, toddlers and their parents during the COVID-19 crisis.
The organisations issued a statement describing the huge risks faced by some babies and toddlers as a result of increased pressure on already vulnerable parents, and the scaling back of services that would normally support them. We argue that babies, both born and unborn, and their parents should be given particular attention as this is a critical period with serious immediate and long-term consequences. Strong leadership and concerted, joined-up action are required to reduce any harm to babies, both now and into the future.
Collectively, we are calling on Government to:
- Ensure that the physical and emotional needs of the youngest children are considered more explicitly and transparently by those making decisions about the response to COVID-19. Provide clarity on who in high-level decision making forums, such as COBRA, is representing the needs of babies and their parents.
- Provide clear guidance for health and social services on maintaining vital support for families. This must encourage an informed and coordinated local approach in each area that draws on partnerships between statutory agencies and charities (utilising any local volunteers effectively and appropriately) to ensure all families get the support they need. This guidance should minimise the re-deployment of staff from community services, in particular health visiting, parent-infant and perinatal mental health teams, recognising that these services provide essential support to families at highest risk and are needed more than ever. Decision makers must balance action to tackle COVID-19 with action to reduce its immediate and long-term negative impact on parents and the next generation.
- Ensure that the strategy to end the lockdown considers the needs of babies and their families, and the services that work with them. Government must consider how services can swiftly and safely return to offering high-quality face to face support to families and how additional support can be put in place to mitigate the impacts of social distancing, particularly on the most vulnerable families.
You can read our full statement hereFirst 1001 Days COVID statement