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The Parent-Infant Conference and the importance of the early years

Today the Anna Freud Centre is partnering with the Parent-Infant Foundation to host the 2020 Parent-Infant Conference in central London for 300 practitioners working in the early years across the UK.

Dr Camilla Rosan, Head of the Early Years Programme at the Anna Freud Centre says: “Today’s event brings together a range of high-profile research, policy, and practice speakers in the field of infant and early years mental health. It will offer them a platform to shine a light on some incredibly important issues in the early years, including poverty, trauma and unstable housing.

“Along with the Parent-Infant Foundation, we strongly believe that we need to start with pregnancy and the first years of life – in order to fully address the current challenges around children and young people’s mental health.”

Local, national and international experts speaking at the conference include: Professor Paul Ramchandani (Lego Professor of Play at the University of Cambridge), Professor Jane Barlow (Professor of Evidence Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation, Oxford University; President, AIMH-UK), and Ailsa Swarbrick (Director, Family Nurse Partnership, National Unit).

Both the Anna Freud Centre and the Parent-Infant Foundation have planned for this event to be attended by parents and a wide range of professionals with an interest in the emotional wellbeing of babies and young children. This includes therapists, health visitors, midwives, social workers, GPs, family support workers, early years practitioners, researchers, and policy makers working in the Early Years sector.

Camilla added, “Responsive, sensitive and loving early relationships are key for healthy, happy children. But families can face a range of challenges, and our work in this area is currently stepping into a new territory by focusing on some of the most complex challenges that families face.”

We’re currently working on developing an online resource to support early years practitioners as part of our Early Years Programme. To help us develop the resources, we are asking early years practitioners to complete a short survey about the type of resources they would find useful.