This report summarises the impacts on babies of COVID-19 and the spring 2020 national lockdown. The report also explores how local systems responded to the challenges presented by COVID-19. It seeks to understand the factors that have shaped the response by services that support babies and their families. Most importantly, the report seeks to ensure that lessons are learnt for the future of service provision for this age group.
The report presents a varied picture across the UK, with evidence that:
- “Hidden harms” of the Spring lockdown on 0-2s were broad and significant, and experienced unevenly depending on family circumstances and background.
- Historically inadequate or insecure funding, and a rising tide of need, has inhibited the ability of some services and areas to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
- There were often ‘baby blind-spots’ where babies’ needs were overlooked in policy, planning and funding.
The report also draws on a survey of 235 senior leaders of pregnancy and 0-2 services across the UK. The survey findings showed that:
- Almost all (98%) of the survey respondents said babies their organisation works with had been impacted by parental anxiety, stress or depression which was affecting bonding and responsive care.
- 78% of respondents were clear that the government in their nation had not done enough for the under 2s, creating this ‘baby blind-spot’.
- The majority (80%) said that some babies they work with had experienced increased exposure to domestic conflict, child abuse or neglect, with 29% saying many babies they work with had been impacted.
It is now calling for governments across the UK to focus on ensuring all babies live in a ‘baby-positive’ local system.