A steering group, convened by The Duchess of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation, chaired by Scott Greenhalgh, has met for the first time to discuss what can be done to make a positive difference to the lives of children, by focussing on their earliest stage of life, from pre-birth to infancy.

The steering group has been asked to consider how best The Royal Foundation can support the achievement of better outcomes; looking at preparation for parenthood, pregnancy, and a child’s early years.

For several years The Duchess has been working with experts and organisations that are championing the importance of providing solid social and emotional platforms for children – in their earliest years of life – to support their development and emotional resilience as infants; and provide them with the foundations to lead to healthy and fulfilling adulthood.

We all know how important childhood is; and how the early years shape us for life. We also know how negative the downstream impact can be, if problems emerging at the youngest age are overlooked, or ignored. It is therefore vital that we nurture children through this critical, early period. But as we've heard, at what stage in a child’s development could we, or should we, intervene, to break the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage? The more I have heard, the more I am convinced that the answer has to be: 'early' and ' 'the earlier, the better'.

The Duchess of Cambridge

The steering group, which The Duchess announced during the symposium at the Royal Society for Medicine in March, met yesterday [Wednesday] and is made up of representatives from across the sector. It will report its findings and recommendations for action to The Duchess through The Royal Foundation.

The group is expected to consider issues such as perinatal and maternal mental health, support and advice for mothers and families, attachment and parent-child interaction, and support and training for teachers and other professionals working in the field.