Rob Parkinson, chief executive of the leading family support charity, Home-Start UK, has called on the new government to invest in early years intervention to avoid a decline in the life-chances of children.

Rob ParkinsonFollowing the announcement that Nicky Morgan will remain as secretary of state for education as well as minister for women and equalities, Rob Parkinson said: “As the new government begins work this week, Nicky Morgan must now commit to supporting greater early years intervention. For example, we know that many children begin school without the skills they need to begin learning. We must focus on supporting families to get children ready for school.

“In 2014 Home-Start set out its first ever manifesto for improving the lives of all our children. This manifesto outlines the three key priority areas that the new government must focus on over the next five years. We must transform mental health support for families. Families must have access to better, and more secure housing. And, children must be well nourished and protected from food poverty.

“Supporting volunteer-led organisations like Home-Start will mean the government can deliver cost-effective programmes that have proven impact in each of these three priority areas.

“The next five years are critical to the life chances of children across the country, and the government must focus on making the improvements families need. Organisations like Home-Start are ready to work with the government to help make those improvements happen.”

In 288 local Home-Starts across the UK, 18,422 volunteers support 63,308 children in 29,170 families.

Home-Start has shown that 95% of parents who came to the end of their support felt better able to manage their children’s behaviour and 94% felt less isolated and had improved mental health.