Research confirms that a child's experience in the first three years of life shape its future - out of all proportion to the rest of childhood. A secure primary attachment relationship is the main protective factor due to the impact it has on the developing brain. When a child's first 3 years are right, it brings huge benefits not just for the child but for the whole of society.
Scientific research is convincing in its message that the first three years of life shape a child's physical, emotional and mental development – for good or bad – out of proportion to the rest of childhood. What About The Children? is a voice for children too young to speak out about their emotional needs themselves.
What About The Children? campaigns for policies that promote prevention rather than intervention to protect the emotional well being of all children. It speaks for the emotional needs of under threes at All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG's) concerned with children, at the Early Childhood Forum, and Save Childhood Movement.
Young children, who are nurtured, talked to and played with attentively by a constant, sensitive and responsive carer – most often, but not always, the mother – with other caring adults as secondary attachment figures, will almost invariably thrive.
We campaign to ensure children receive consistent, responsive loving care in their earliest years critical for optimum brain development and long term physical and mental health.
What About the Children? brings together academics and practitioners at its annual conference & bi ennnial Goodman lectures on a broad range of aspects of early child development. Past conference papers can be downloaded here.
What About the Children? searches out current scientific research in neuroscience, psychology, biology and the medical sciences, selecting research that provide new insights into early life experiences. We summarise these academic papers for the wider professional community and others interested in children's well being.
Our Research Summaries are grouped by the year the research was published.
The Quality of mother-infant interaction really does matter
New research looks at the links between early care-giving experiences and children's brain development. Unlike much of the earlier research this work has been based on normal mother-infant relationships. Previous evidence has come from worst case scenarios of neglect in orphans or in children of severely stressed mothers. The research in animals has indicated what we might find, but no-one has yet done the research in human mother-infant pairs.
Looking foward to 2017
'Are we betraying children and childhood and if so what is to be done about it?'
This is the title of Professor Sir Al Aynlsey-Green's Goodman Lecture which he will deliver at What About The Children?'s 2017 Conference on the 9th March at the Royal Overseas League, Park Place London.
Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green Kt is Professor of Advocacy for Children and Childhood, Nottingham Trent University and Professor Emeritus of Child Health, University College London; immediate Past President BMA and formerly first Childrens Commissioner for England.
To book your attendance at this important event click here.
Last chance for conference Early Bird Discount.
The Early Bird Discount is extended for one more week!
Book now to attend What About The Children's 2017 Conference 'Do children have rights? Who has the responsibility?'
£85 (includes lunch) reduced fee of £45 for second delegate from same organisation
Early bird discount £75 second delegate from same organisation booked at the same time £40
The United Nations has "serious concerns" about UK Government’s failure to prioritise children's needs.
Despite some progress from their last report in 2008, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child warns that the UK is not doing enough to prioritise children and give them the opportunity to fulfil their potential. The UK ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1991, yet there’s still no cross-government strategy to implement children's rights or a senior government minister with responsibility for children's rights.
Children's rights are the basic things children need to thrive – the right to an adequate standard of living, an education, to play, be healthy, and be cared for. They should act as a safety net – meaning children always receive minimum standards of treatment whatever the changing economic climate.
The UN Committee said it is "Seriously concerned at the effects that recent fiscal policies and allocation of resources" have had, they are "disproportionately affecting children in disadvantaged situations." It calls on the UK to "introduce a statutory obligation" to consider children's needs "when developing laws and policies affecting children" and "adopt comprehensive action plans" to ensure children in the UK have the best start in life.
What About The Children? relies entirely on its supporters for funding and on the hard work of its committed volunteers.
Help us get the important message about emotional needs and early brain development out to even more people.
What About The Children?, a small national charity, brings together people from a range of backgrounds and expertise who have come together to campaign on behalf of the emotional needs of children too young to speak for themselves. The charity is independent with no political or religious affiliations.