“Changing the odds in the early years – a discussion paper on reducing poverty in early years” is a recently published report by the Children’s Commissioner in England. The report examines the lasting impact and cost of child poverty and found there is an urgent need to take action to ‘reduce the negative impact on a child’s life’.
Early childhood is recognised as a critical time in a child’s development and studies indicate that if a baby’s development falls behind the norm during their first year, they are much more likely to fall even further behind in subsequent years. Research has shown that even a few years of poverty can have negative consequences for a child’s development and is especially harmful for the under 5’s. Living in poverty can seriously impact on a child’s attainment, health and happiness as well as having long-term adverse consequences into adulthood.
The study and subsequent report completed by the children’s commissioner sought to gain the perspectives of children and their families on services used by them and whether these services reduced the impact of living with low-income. Five key areas were addressed:
- Early year’s services
- Financial and hardship
- Health services
- Local strategies and approaches
Early year’s services such as Children’s Centres, Home-Start and Gingerbread are cited in the report as helping to reduce the impact of poverty on children’s lives. Click here to access a summary of the report