16 Sep 2011

The Children’s Society launched a new series of breakfast seminars on Tuesday, beginning with Naomi Eisenstadt and Frank Field MP discussing the coalition and labour governments’ approaches to early intervention - particularly the early years.

Naomi Eisenstadt, former National Director of Sure Start and now Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, eloquently explored issues surrounding parenting and early intervention. She highlighted two things the government can do to help parents - reducing external pressures, and enhancing skills and changing behaviour. She argued that the coalition is focusing too much on the latter, whilst the former is getting worse.

Naomi called for greater recognition of the good work done with the bottom 30 percent of children and families in the last 10 years, but at the same time recognised that governments had failed the one to two percent of the most disadvantaged children and families.

This was the first in the charity's series of seminars

Frank Field MP responded to the issues, highlighting findings from his independent report into poverty, stressing the importance of making the government really focus on the early years, not just schools. He sounded a positive note about how parents really want to know how to be good parents, and that they must be helped to realise this. 

These points stimulated a wide ranging debate of the current government’s agenda around early intervention and the outcomes of their first year in power. Topics raised include workforce development, evaluation of Sure Start and the role of parenting support. 

This engaging event was chaired by The Children’s Society’s Chief Executive Bob Reitemeier, marking the first in a series of seminars for the charity. The audience included MPs, political advisors, think tank representatives, civil servants and children’s charities.