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The importance of dads in the early years

During Mental Health Week, the Movember Foundation published its survey on new dads and there was some striking similarities with findings from a consultation we did with men in Blackpool about their experiences of being a new dad.

Benefits of funded childcare need selling

When searching for reasons for the low take-up of funded childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds in England, debate has focused on whether providers are being adequately remunerated to create sufficient places.

Affordable, flexible childcare plan would be a vote winner

There is a problem with childcare being so much in the public spotlight. People either become immune to the argument - a kind of "childcare fatigue" - or talk about it so much that we are lulled into a false sense of security that universal childcare is a reality or soon will be.

Opinion: Who carries the can when things go wrong in childsafeguarding?

What did you think last month when you heard that the Prime Minister of South Korea had offered his resignation in the wake of the ferry disaster? I don't suppose anybody thought that the PM had been at the helm of the ship that sunk, or that he could personally be held to blame for any lapses in the training of supervision of the ferry. But the culture in South Korea expects that those in highest authority carry responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

Don't take early intervention for granted

When the Deputy Prime Minister made the welcome announcement at the Liberal Democrat conference that £100m of capital funding would go to help nurseries and childminders increase the number of places they offer, it felt like the party conference season was getting off to a promising start for early intervention.

Vetting agency must foster responsibility

Keeping children safe from abuse is always a highly charged topic. It is naturally the first priority of most parents. It is vital for children's services departments, since a high-profile child abuse case causes untold damage not just to the child but to the whole service.

A very tall order with a short deadline

Across the country, newly formed local teams are embarking on a colossal exercise. In every area, local authorities have until next month to quantify how many troubled families live in each area and set out how they are going to help them turn their lives around.

Sure Start is essential for vulnerable families

I have been a keen supporter of Sure Start from the start. It seemed obvious to me from what I saw in Sure Start centres that the most disadvantaged children would not only get a better start in life, but that this would have a lasting beneficial impact.

Two-year-old places are not deliverable

We all know the benefits of early education. The government's desire to extend the free entitlement to more two-year-olds is therefore laudable, but I'm not sure it's currently deliverable.

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