Parent-Infant Foundation urges politicians to ‘Speak Up For Babies’ for Infant Mental Health Awareness Week

10 June 2024

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The Parent-Infant Foundation is warning of a crisis in early years support and urging politicians to ‘Speak up for babies’, for Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (10th – 16th June).

The charity warns it’s a ‘false economy’ failing to invest in the early years, as it costs the UK £16 billion every year to address problems that could have been avoided with early years interventions.

Start for Life guidance estimates that at least one in ten babies in the UK is living in fear and distress (at risk of disorganised attachment).  An increasing numbers of toddlers are missing key developmental targets, and mental health conditions in children are on the rise.

Keith Reed, Chief Executive at the Parent-Infant Foundation said,

“We need a national target to support 60,000 vulnerable babies over the next 5 years. There are just 38 parent-infant teams in England, when we need 400. There is a crisis in early years services. 

“The health visiting workforce has decreased by 40% since 2015. Only one in four families have been able to access a Family Nurse Partnership and proven voluntary sector services like Home-Start are being de-commissioned.  It’s costing £16 billion a year to UK taxpayers in late interventions.  That’s a false economy.”

Babies don’t vote of course, so too often they are overlooked during elections. The Parent-Infant Foundation is asking candidates of all parties to ‘Speak Up For Babies, and more than a dozen candidates from different political parties are already supporting this.

To ask your candidate to ‘Speak up for babies’, see our guide here

To see which candidates have pledged to speak up for babies, see the campaign page here

The Parent-Infant Foundation has also created a film for politicians, featuring a Baby Prime Minister, here  


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