Our aim for the best start in life for children priority

Our aim is to support children to have the best possible start in life by:

  • supporting good child development
  • strengthening and changing how we support families who are expecting a new baby and have pre-school children
  • improving school readiness

What we're going to do for the best start in life

Between birth and school age

We will:

  • develop a multi-agency agreement on how we provide intensive support to women who have had multiple children removed from their care
  • work together to strengthen the local maternity system developments with a community wrap-around offer to support pre- and post-birth (preparing for parenthood) and to improve pathways of support between maternity services, health visiting and local authority services
  • improve how we share information to better support families within their communities
  • deliver evidence-based interventions to improve outcomes for children from birth to 5 years with a particular focus on reducing inequality, focusing on:
    • language development
    • strong bonds between parents and children
    • school readiness
    • community and parent-led approaches
    • supporting good home learning environments

How we will work with others

We will:

  • focus on putting the needs of children first and make sure processes do not get in the way of providing good support. We will use a graduated response to need; the right help in the right place at the right time
  • champion childhood immunisations and adult health improvement throughout the partnership workforce, for example using workforce development and campaigns
  • promote the creation of child-friendly spaces and places
  • work with early years settings to make sure there's enough childcare available for children in Dorset and promote the early years offer
  • support childminders and other early years settings to identify and address issues early, using support from a range of local professionals
  • make sure information and services are accessible in communities across Dorset, integrated and focussed on the whole family
  • explore the development of family hubs, where people of all ages can get help and support from a range of professionals

Where you can find help

Maternity and new parents

Take a look at the Maternity Matters website for information on becoming a new parent and support during pregnancy, labour and after the birth.

Sign up to be a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter on the Families and Babies website.

Find online videos and useful information on the Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) website.

Think about volunteering, for example at your local library or a charity.

Read, talk and sing to your children. Find great ideas and useful information:

Visit the Dorset Reading Partners website to see how you can help your child.

Healthy living

Make sure you register your child with:

Sign up for Change4Life.

Get involved with LiveWell Dorset.

Visit Dorset Family Information Service and sign up to our newsletter for lots of useful information for families.

If you're a parent or carer and would like to know more about parenting tips, information about long-term illnesses or where to go if you feel your child is having problems with their emotions visit Wessex Healthier Together website.

If you have questions about your child's development visit the NHS health visiting website or speak to your local health visiting team.