A New Working Group Report: WELLBEING AND NURTURE: PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL SECURITY IN CHILDHOOD

We are proud to announce today’s publication of our latest report: “WELLBEING AND NURTURE: PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL SECURITY IN CHILDHOOD”, which was kindly sponsored by Liverpool John Moores University. You can download the report and the press release from our website.

The report was commissioned before anybody had even heard of Covid-19 – but the enforced isolation that children have experienced as a direct consequence of the pandemic has made it even more relevant than we had thought initially.

The Report recommends that:

  • Emotional Health and Wellbeing is incorporated into Initial Training and Continued Professional Development for all health and education professionals involved in care and advice to children and their parents/carers
  • There is an immediate strategy to combat the adverse impact on the mental health of children and young people of social isolation beyond the pandemic. Services offering face to face contact and related  activities should be commissioned especially in rural and other isolated communities
  • Positive  touch work to become an established part of the school curriculum; possibly  as a component of PSHE
  • All therapeutic practitioners (and those who work therapeutically with children in other contexts) to be registered by a Government Approved Professional Standards Accredited Register
  • Department for Education through Ofsted to compile and cascade a compendium of best practice models and evaluations of affective touch strategies for classroom use
  • Re-modelling of training systems for officials and carers working with children in care to better educate them in appropriate touch and thus improve their practice
  • The four Children’s Commissioners to be involved in drawing up a set of agreed UK indicators for Emotional Health and Wellbeing to be incorporated into all statutory children’s developmental health assessment programmes
  • Ensure that Sure Start Centres are integral to a new social isolation reduction strategy because they have the capacity to offer early intervention in a variety of locations (not exclusively more built up areas).

‘The physical and emotional wellbeing of children matters so much because our future society depends on it.

We have all undergone devastating experiences of social isolation during the pandemic, but the priority now is to look forward. Years of the ‘me’ society’ could not save us from Covid-19.

Now, acting together, we must optimise the emotional and physical wellbeing of every child so that we re-learn how to look out for each other. By teaching children to connect, we will create families and communities that will be strong and healthy.’

Steve McCabe MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood

‘Neuro-scientists have recently discovered a population of touch sensitive nerves in the skin that respond optimally to a gentle caress and that during the early years of development play a critical role in brain development. We now have the evidence that a lack of caring touch in early life has lifelong adverse consequences on mental health.’

Professor Francis McGlone, Liverpool John Moores University

‘These recommendations are just some of the ways in which this Report argues that new ways of approaching child development and wellbeing can contribute to the re-making of society, bringing unity and community in place of division and isolation.

We hope that it will be helpful in informing decision-making and commend it to policymakers.’

Helen Clark, Lead Author of the Report

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