Social and emotional wellbeing: early years

NICE guidelines [PH40] Published date:

This guidance aims to define how the social and emotional wellbeing of vulnerable children aged under 5 years can be supported through home visiting, childcare and early education. The term ‘vulnerable’ is used to describe children who are at risk of, or who are already experiencing, social and emotional problems and need additional support.

The guidance  is for all those responsible for planning and commissioning children's services in local authorities (including education), the NHS and the community, voluntary and private sectors.

It also for: GPs, health visitors, midwives, psychologists and other health practitioners, social workers, teachers and those working in all early years settings (including childminders and those working in children’s centres and nurseries).

The recommendations cover:

  • Strategy, commissioning and review
  • Identifying vulnerable children and assessing their needs
  • Ante- and postnatal home visiting for vulnerable children and their families
  • Early education and childcare
  • Delivering services.

The recommendations:

  • Adopt a ‘life course perspective’
  • Focus on social and emotional wellbeing as the foundation for the healthy development of vulnerable children and to offset the risks relating to disadvantage
  • Aim to ensure universal, as well as more targeted, services provide them with additional support
  • Should be used in conjunction with local child safeguarding policies.

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