A Fairer Start for Professionals

In recognition that the first few years of a child’s life are crucial to their development, A Fairer Start aims to ensure that every child has the best start in life. Evidence shows that investing in early years improves social, emotional, physical development of children and has an impact on their education, health & wellbeing right through to adulthood.

A Fairer Start recognises that each parent, child and family has a unique journey and the importance of understanding where they are on that journey. A range of factors including housing, relationships, mental health and finance all play a part in the development of a child which can be supported through improved community links and multi-agency working. A Fairer Start is an ethos and philosophy that aims to ensure better life chances for 0-3 year olds through culture change, awareness raising, knowledge building and empowering communities to raise children in a healthy and happy environment.

A Fairer Start is a 3 year pilot currently funded by Stockton Borough Council Public Health and NHS Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees CCG; focussing on improving three key outcomes for 0-3 year olds living in the Stockton Town Centre ward:

  1. Social, emotional and cognitive development;
  2. Speech and language development;
  3. Nutrition.

The overarching outcome is for all children to be ‘School Ready’ by the age of five.

A Fairer Start Approach

Through ongoing consultation with the local community, A Fairer Start aims to proactively challenge, influence and support partners to:
  1. Respond to the needs and experiences of children, families and communities.
  2. Holistically support, work and communicate with families in a way that is relevant to their individual needs.
  3. Remove barriers to improving services and strengthen relationships between Early Years/Health practitioners and all sectors.
  4. Create a sense of belonging to the ‘A Fairer Start town’ among all children, families, communities, professionals and organisations.
  5. Support the development of Community Champions to empower families, foster community spirit and raise awareness of available services.
  6. Create an environment where families are comfortable in their decisions and can build trusting relationships with professionals and their community.
  7. Provide opportunities for volunteers and professionals to develop skills and knowledge to ensure consistent sharing of early year’s messages.
The approach will be based on the ten recommendations set out by WAVE Trust in their ‘Conception to Age of Opportunity’ report:
  1. Increase breastfeeding and good antenatal nutrition
  2. Promote language development
  3. Reduce domestic violence; and stress in pregnancy
  4. Achieve a major reduction in abuse and neglect
  5. Set up an effective and comprehensive perinatal mental health service
  6. Assess and identify where help is needed
  7. Focus on improving attunement
  8. Promote secure attachment
  9. Ensure good, health-led multi-agency work
  10. Ensure early years workforce have requisite skills