A Better Start: supporting child development in the early years

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance to babies and young children of getting off to a healthy start.

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This guide sets out concisely the reasons that the early years are so essential to future outcomes and wellbeing; the measures being taken by local authorities to bring together health, social care and early education services to create a more holistic approach to identifying and meeting the needs of young children and their families – making provision more efficient and effective; and an idea of the increasing range of interventions available to address particular issues early, before they escalate into more damaging (and expensive) problems.

The case studies also highlight the importance of evidence-based practice, and of local authorities and area partnerships making sure that they commission provision and implement changes which fully reflect the particular local needs and priorities of their communities.

Finally, the resources section lists the publications referred to in the text, with links, which offer a wealth of further reading and information.