Parent-Infant Foundation welcomes ‘Impact of COVID-19 on new parents: one year on’ report
07 October 2021
The Parent-Infant Foundation welcomes the House of Commons Petitions Committee’s report on the continuing challenges faced by new and expectant parents in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their report, ‘Impact of COVID-19 on new parents: one year on’ provides a clear analysis of the difficulties the pandemic has posed for some babies and their families. Lockdown has limited opportunities for professionals to engage with families which risks child development concerns not being recorded and opportunities to support parents in need being missed.
The Committee recognises the baby blindspot in the Government’s pandemic response, stating that, “…to date COVID-19 recovery funding aimed at children aged under 2 appears to have been unjustifiably neglected compared to the funding made available for older children.”
The report highlights key areas in need of additional investment to ensure urgent catch-up support is available for parents and babies who have missed out during the pandemic. Their recommendations include encouraging the Government to:
• Provide additional funding and resources to allow catch-up mental health support for new parents impacted by COVID-19 and accelerate planned capacity building in perinatal mental health services, and
• Fund local authorities to arrange in-person visits to new parents by appropriate local authority, voluntary organisation or health visiting staff before the end of the year.
Ahead of the 2021 Spending Review, the Committee is recommending that the Government accelerate elements of the Best Start for Life Review’s vision, including growing the health visiting workforce, and that Government provide targeted funding to help achieve this.
The Parent-Infant Foundation supports these recommendations and hopes the Government will provide both the leadership and investment required to action them. Sally Hogg, Head of Policy and Communications at the Parent-Infant Foundation, said:
“It is clear that the pandemic has had a particularly worrying impact on some babies and their families, particularly those already experiencing adversity. Lockdown limited the opportunities for some babies and their parents to engage with professional support services. This risks some families suffering long term consequences from the pandemic that could be avoided. The Government must act to ensure babies are part of their plans to build back better.”
“We welcome the Petitions Committee’s report and encourage the Government to support the recommendations in it – particularly the need to address the baby blindspot by ensuring recovery funding for babies is in line with the generous package for older children.”
Read the full report here.