Affirm and publish a policy, advocating a multi-sector approach to the provision of parenting support services and early childhood care for all mothers and their families – recognising local and country-specific issues in relation to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The policy should respect cultural traditions and provide universal access to all population groups, without discrimination, and with a particular focus on the disadvantaged and the vulnerable.
The National CEP Policy should be reflected in policies at all levels and sectors of government, should be developed with input from mothers, women and all key CEP stakeholders, and should explicitly be linked to the relevant SDGs to which CEPPs are a contributor. It should cover the following aspects:
3.1. Awareness raising of the general public, in particular teenagers and parents-to-be, in the media and in education curricula, and of mothers through pre-natal education.
3.2. A commitment to take action against all forms of discrimination, including, (where applicable), reproductive rights, violence and sexual exploitation of women and girls, violence against women, harmful traditional practices like FGM, MGM, child early and forced marriage as defined in SDG5, and lack of birth registration as called for in SDG16.
3.3. Availability and accessibility of CEP services and education to all population groups and including mother, child, family, caregivers and parents-to-be. Particular focus should be on the disadvantaged and vulnerable, and those with disabilities or mental health conditions.
3.4. The CEP period, typically including preconception, prenatal, peri-natal, postnatal and early childhood (typically the period prior to pre-primary education, or 3-4 years, depending on the country).
3.5. The CEP services, typically including healthcare, (reproductive, physical, emotional and mental health), perinatal support, e.g. midwives, social services, and early childhood care and education.
3.6. Adoption of a multi-sector approach, with clear accountability for service delivery, and with implementation priorities, areas of intervention and funding based on an objective assessment of needs defined in the business case.
3.7. Promoting the role of fathers throughout pregnancy and early parenthood, addressing the issue of time off or flexible working conditions for parents, and provision of support (material and financial) for caregivers.