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(2013). Early Years Intervention—Perinatal Support: Andrea Leadsom's Speech in UK Houses of Parliament, 7th November 2012. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 7(1):vii-ix.

(2013). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 7(1):vii-ix


Early Years Intervention—Perinatal Support: Andrea Leadsom's Speech in UK Houses of Parliament, 7th November 2012

I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require the Secretary of State to provide appropriate perinatal support to any family expecting a child who will be born on to the child protection register and for whom an adoption plan has not been made at the moment the child is entered on to the register; to require that a decision be made not later than one year after the child's birth as to whether or not such a child will be adopted; and for connected purposes.

I am a huge advocate of early-years intervention, and of the vital importance of parents establishing a secure bond with their new baby. During adoption week, we need to recommit ourselves to ensuring that the most vulnerable in our society get every chance to achieve their lifelong potential.

Astonishingly, in the first year of life, a baby's brain forms one million brain connections per second. It is the baby's earliest experiences that will largely determine the nature and extent of those vital connections. It is a fact that the period from conception to the age of two is the most crucial time to harness a loving and secure attachment that will, in turn, have a profound impact on the baby's capacity for lifelong emotional health.

At one level, achieving a secure attachment between baby and carer sounds simple. It is the cooing, the loving eye contact and the singing of baby songs—the things that many parents find perfectly natural—that stimulate the development of the baby's frontal cortex. That is the part of the brain that deals with our emotional capacity as human beings. A healthy brain equips the baby to deal with life's ups and downs, and that baby will grow up able to make friends, hold down a job, find a partner and eventually be a good parent themselves.

Forming that secure bond does not come easily to everyone, however. In fact, it is completely natural for someone to treat their own baby in the same way as their own parents treated them.

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