Our Rare Jewels report: Specialised parent-infant relationship teams are like rare jewels in the mental health system

In June 2019, at the start of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, we launched our ground-breaking report in parliament about the provision of specialised parent-infant relationship services around the UK.

Parent-infant teams provide:

  • Expertise, consultation and supervision to help local services to improve early relationships for all babies
  • Direct therapeutic support to those families who need specialist help

Rare Jewels explained for the first time what specialised parent-infant relationship teams are, and why they matter.

It contained the most up-to-date analysis of provision across the four nations of the UK.

Our research found only 27 parent-infant teams in the UK. These teams were described as ‘rare jewels’ because they are small, valuable but scarce. Most babies in the UK live in areas where there is no service. But their value is being realised and an increasing number of commissioners are funding new services, despite the difficult economic climate.

Our research also looked at wider provision for children aged two and under. It found that NHS Children and Young People’s Mental Health Commissioners are overlooking the needs of the youngest children. CAMHS services in 42% of areas in England do not accept referrals for children aged two and under even though commissioners should fund services for ALL children. The statistics uncovered for this report are shocking, and should be a source of disgrace, just as it would be if CCGs were commissioning services that excluded children because of other characteristics, such as disability, race or sex.

Rare Jewels sets out an ambition that in the next 10 years – by 2030 – there should be specialised parent-infant relationship teams available across the UK, able to support all families who need them. This will require concerted action from national and local decision makers. The report makes 12 recommendations for policy changes that could support the development of specialised provision across the UK.

Tim Loughton MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Conception to Age Two, recognised the report’s compelling case for investment in specialised parent-infant relationship teams saying: “Parent-infant relationships are vital for children’s development. Parent-infant teams can enable all services in a local area to support these relationships better, as well as providing world-class therapeutic interventions for families who are struggling the most. This report makes a compelling case for governments and commissioners across the UK to invest in these services.”

Browse the executive summary below, or download the PDF by clicking here.

Browse the full report below, or download the PDF by clicking here.