Manifesto launched promising improved support for new parents and infants

Families and infants are being promised a more ‘secure foundation’ of help under a new manifesto.


Release date: 3 March 2017

The 1001 Critical Days Manifesto for West Sussex highlights the importance of a child’s wellbeing during the vital days from when a baby is conceived until two-years-old.

The manifesto states that “radical change is needed to focus our services on the first 1001 critical days”.

The ambition is for every baby to receive sensitive, appropriate and responsive care, whilst ensuring parents feel confident that they are raising their child/children in a loving and supportive environment.

At yesterday’s launch event, Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “West Sussex services and professionals already recognise the significance of help early on and as a county we have been praised for our work.

“This manifesto puts in place a secure foundation to build upon. It’s a really positive start to ensuring our residents are receiving the support they and their loved ones need for the best start in life.”

Parliamentary Early Years Adviser, Clair Rees said: “Infant and early mental health development is an opportunity in which to lay the foundations of the mind for good mental health.

“It matters because prevention is cure. We can grow and evolve our knowledgebase as a society, in order to take collective responsibility for our youngest citizens - strengthening together the village around the infant-family”.

Stephen Hillier, County Council Cabinet Member for Children - Start of Life, explained the importance of this manifesto for families in West Sussex.

Stephen said: “In West Sussex there are approximately 9,000 births every year, that’s a potential 18,000 residents who are seeking help and guidance. Our parents should feel confident, happy and supported during this important and emotional time.

“The manifesto covers different aspects of what might be needed in those critical first days from online information and support classes to integrated service data and joint assessments. We know that these points are integral to doing the right thing for our residents.”

West Sussex based services and professionals who work with families and children within this age group are being asked to support the manifesto by visiting

Organisations already signed up include the maternity teams from St Richard’s NHS Hospital Foundation Trust, Surrey and East Surrey NHS Hospital Trust as well as Sussex Community NHS Trust.

West Sussex County Council is the second council in the country to commit to a 1001 Critical Days manifesto following in the footsteps of Northampton County Council in 2016.

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