04 March 2013

Foreword by Elizabeth Truss MP
Then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Childcare

Conception to age 2 – the age of opportunity contains recommendations to guide both national and local decision-makers and commissioners in reducing the causes of disadvantage at the earliest and most effective point in life. In addition, it makes specific recommendations for appropriate identification and support for vulnerable families, with particular focus on the antenatal and postnatal periods of care and contains a detailed analysis of the economic benefits of early years’ intervention.

By implementing the recommendations of this report, we can transform outcomes for children by ensuring that they are emotionally and physically healthier, and importantly, that those of them at risk are identified earlier. By dramatically reducing the later consequential costs of disadvantage, this approach has the potential to radically transform society.

The report was the output of an invited response to the Government document Supporting Families in the Foundation Years and is supported by the Department of Health and Education.

'I am delighted to be given the opportunity to write a foreword for this report, which I believe represents a very important step in achieving earlier intervention for families who need the most support. As our understanding of the brain development of babies improves, so too must our policies, to reflect this critically important period of life. If every single child is to benefit from the positive changes we are making to the early child care and education settings, then every single child has to receive ‘good enough’ parenting. The ‘Age of opportunity’ report provides many of those evidence-based answers as to how we can practically implement support for women and families, and promote a generation of improved infant mental health.'

Foreword by Dr Daniel Poulter MP
Then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Services

'We know the importance of strong loving relationships and also the power of early intervention for families in the earliest months and years of life. That is why we are investing in a substantial increase in health visitors and in the Family Nurse Partnership for the most vulnerable young parents.

The Age of Opportunity makes a further contribution to the challenges to all of us to improve the physical and mental health of our youngest children and I will be asking the independent Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Forum to study its recommendations carefully.'

Download the report:
Download the framework for local area service commissioners:

Related content: 

Conception to age 2 - The economics of early years' investment