Special Report: Attachment and Neglect

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The importance of strong attachments from early childhood - and of tackling the damage caused by neglect where these attachments are lacking - is seeing greater recognition in both policy and practice.

The baby’s eyes stare deeply into those of her mother. The child responds to the smiles and cooing of her primary carer by smiling, wriggling and burbling. Although there are no words, the attachment between mother and child is clear to see.

It is these early interactions that many believe build the platform for children to develop strong bonds with family and carers, and creates the right conditions to achieve throughout life.

For those children not fortunate enough to have loving and attentive parents or carers, and whose needs are neglected, the absence of these early interactions disrupt brain development, stifling their ability to form attachments and develop empathy, forge healthy relationships and go on to be successful at school and into adulthood.

It is for this reason that policymakers, academics and children’s practitioners are increasingly developing early help for struggling families where neglect exists. It is also why interventions are honing in on ways to build attachment in older children and young people whose early life experiences has seen them develop emotional and behaviour problems.

CYP Now’s Special Report on attachment and neglect takes an in-depth look at how policy is evolving to tackle this fundamental issue; how research is developing practitioners’ knowledge on improving attachment; and profile examples of services and projects doing innovative work in supporting children and young people of all ages to overcome problems.

Click these links to find out more:

Attachment and Neglect – Policy context

Attachment and Neglect – Research evidence

Attachment and Neglect – Practice example: New Orleans Intervention Model

Attachment and Neglect – Practice example: Mulberry Bush Oxfordshire (MBOX) Teaching School

Attachment and Neglect – Practice example: Parents on the Ball

Attachment and Neglect – Practice example: AdCAMHS, East Sussex

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