Social and emotional wellbeing key to giving vulnerable children best start in life, says NICE
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- Health professionals in antenatal and postnatal services should identify factors that may pose a risk to a child's social and emotional wellbeing. These include factors that could affect the parents' capacity to provide a loving and nurturing environment. For example, they should discuss with the parents any problems they may have in relation to the father or mother's mental health, substance or alcohol misuse, family relationships or circumstances and networks of support.
- Health visitors or midwives should offer a series of intensive home visits by an appropriately trained nurse to parents assessed to be in need of additional support. The trained nurse should visit families in need a set number of times over a sustained period of time (sufficient to establish trust and help make positive changes).
- Health visitors or midwives should consider evidence-based interventions such as baby massagev and video interaction guidancevi to improve maternal sensitivityvii and mother-infant attachment. (For example, this might be necessary when the mother has depression or the infant shows signs of behavioural difficulties.)
- Local authority children's services should ensure all vulnerable children can benefit from high quality childcare outside the home on a part- or full-time basis, and can take up their entitlement to early childhood education where appropriate. Attendance times should be flexible so that parents or carers have the opportunity to take up education, training or employment opportunities. Such services should also address any barriers that may hinder participation by vulnerable children such as geographical access, the cost of transport or a sense of discrimination and stigma.
Notes to Editors
- parental drug and alcohol problems
- parental mental health problems
- family relationship problems, including domestic violence
- aged under 18
- with a low educational attainment
- who are (or were as children) looked after (that is, they have been in the care system.)
About the guidance
- social wellbeing - child has good relationships with others and does not have behavioural problems, that is, they are not disruptive, violent or a bully.
- emotional wellbeing - this includes being happy and confident and not being anxious or depressed.
- psychological wellbeing - this includes the ability to be autonomous, problem-solve, manage emotions, experience empathy, be resilient and attentive.
Related NICE guidance
- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.
- quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
- Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients.