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 vulnerablity of children
New analysis carried out by Children's Commissioner, published this month, July 2017, indicates that of the 12 million children in England, almost 700,000 live in families with vulnerabilities, and over half a million children are so vulnerable that the state has to step in.
The research aims to shine a light on the nature and scale of children’s vulnerability. It looks at a set of 32 groups of children that have come to be associated with forms or vulnerability or risk. This report is the first stage in a longer-term project to identify and address children's vulnerability in England.
Commenting on the report, Dr Carol Homden, CBE, on behalf of Coram one of oldest children's charities, said:
"This report shines a light on the vast numbers of vulnerable children that exist in the UK.... It is unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of children are still living in situations where they are unable to thrive because of the corrosive effects of the issues faced by adults around them. Achieving change requires both collective and individual action to ensure that families can access a consistently high level of support and that greater emphasis is given to children's rights and timescale."
The report found that that:
- Over 580,000 children – equivalent to the population of Manchester – are so vulnerable that the state has to step in and provide direct care, intervention or support
- Nearly 400,000 children are living lives with poor outcomes or involving risky behaviour.
- 800,000 children aged 5 to 17 suffer mental health disorders.
- 200,000 children have experienced trauma or abuse.
To read the full report go to https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/
What About The Children?'s new Patron John Timpson, receives a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List
What About The Children? is thrilled to announce that Sir John Timpson has agreed to be a Patron of the charity. Accepting the Trustees' invitation to be a Patron, John said 'I am keen to spread awareness of attachment problems and the importance of a strong bond during the early years of life'. John and his late wife Alex had three children and subsequently applied to be foster parents. Over many years they fostered almost 90 children and adopted two. He says that it was’ a light bulb moment’ when he went on a course and heard about Attachment Disorder and the importance of good attachment. John has written two booklets ‘A guide to attachment’ and’ Looking after looked-after-children' and he has done much to raise awareness about the needs of looked-after-children.
John Timpson started his career in his family retail business, based in Cheshire. The family firm of Timpsons is now one of the most successful retail business in the country with over 1800 branches nationwide. He has a unique business style which he calls 'Upside-down Management'.
Sir John has been awarded his knighthood for services to business and fostering. He said 'I hope I can put this recognition to good use by promoting our involvement with employing people from prison, encouraging every school to understand how to look after looked-after-children, and develop a greater understanding about stress in the workplace".
John Timpson joins Micheal Morpurgo OBE, author and former Children's Laureate and Rebecca Abrams, journalist and author (Three Shoes, One Sock and No Hairbrush) as Patrons of What About The Children?
'Building communities with resilient children at their hearts'
In his comment piece, published by the Nuffield Trust 05/06/2017, Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green argues that the UK now needs a long-term, coherent, cross-party ideology and overarching policies that see children and young people as a vital priority and as citizens in their own right. To read the full article click here.
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.