Frank is chair of the Foundation Years Action Group. It is a newly formed group of academics, professionals and policy makers who have come together to promote the vital importance of the foundation years to children's development and life outcomes.
The political, social and educational implications of our increasing knowledge of the plasticity of the baby’s brain require society to shift its perceptions and resource priorities.
The evidence justifies a national commitment to the maintenance of a universal community of care and support for every infant and their immediate caregivers.
Such a commitment would pay for itself many times over in terms of the quality of life of children, young people and adults, reduction of mental illness and crime and the resilience, well-being and freedom of society as a whole.
For more information, please visit the Foundation Years Action Group website
In September 2013, Frank launched a manifesto with a cross-party group of MPs calling for greater political focus on supporting vulnerable families during pregnancy and the early years of a child’s life.
At the launch of the manifesto, Frank said: "We need to secure a commitment from all political parties to ensure no child falls behind. In the manifesto, we list the key moves to break that link between parental poverty and a child becoming a poor adult."
The manifesto – The 1001 Critical Days – calls for greater focus on the mental needs of mothers after evidence showed that the earliest emotional experiences of a baby will have a major impact on the development of its brain. The manifesto aims to push for united action across the political parties in the next parliament to put into practice the revolutionary knowledge politicians have been given by the extraordinary recent advances in neuroscience that have highlighted the crucial importance of the 1001 days between conception and age two.
The manifesto says:
- Vulnerable families should be given access to evidence-based services that promote better interaction between parents and their babies.
- All parents should have access to antenatal classes that address both the physical and emotional aspects of parenting, and the baby’s wellbeing.
- Birth registration should be offered by local registrars in Children's Centres to ensure that almost 100% of families are involved with the Centres.
- Specialist parent and infant mental health midwives and health visitors are needed in every local area to support families at the earliest opportunity.
A full copy of The 1001 Critical Days manifesto can be found here