The 7 Principles

All our work is based on the 7 Principles. The ultimate aim is to build healthier, fairer and more peaceful societies.

The Seven Childhood and Early Parenting Principles (CEPPs)

Supporting CEPPs will help build healthier, fairer and more peaceful societies.
Download pdf

<<Click each Principle to expand

City, Regional and National governments will be encouraged to use the principles as a framework for action and investment in strong, effective policies and programmes for early parenting and early childhood development, namely to:

Principle 1. Provide leadership for Early Parenting and Early Childhood Development at local, regional and national government levels.

Principle 2. Promote partnerships between government, non-government and civil society organisations.

Principle 3. Publish a local, regional or national Childhood and Early Parenting Policy, ensuring universal access and respecting cultural diversity and the voices of women and men.

Principle 4. Establish infrastructure and capacity for education and the delivery of care.

Principle 5. Promote best practices in education and the delivery of care, for mothers and professionals.

Principle 6. Adopt a multi-sector approach ensuring a continuum-of-care in the delivery of physical, emotional and mental health services and early childhood care. 

Principle 7. Measure and publicly report on targets and achievements in relation to Early Parenting and Early Childhood Development.

 

The CEPPs Stakeholders and Actors

These fall into three main groups and are referred to in the CEPPs under these headings:

The Recipients – Mother, father, child, families, caregivers and teenagers

The Policy Makers – Government, non-government and civil society stakeholders in CEPPs including; professional associations, child and women’s rights advocates, research organisations, universities and educational institutions.

The Providers

  • CEP health care: including health visitors, maternity services and adult mental health services.
  • CEP social services: including social care, early childhood care and development and Family or Children’s Centres.
  • CEP professionals: midwives, nurses, doulas, GPs, OB-GYNs, paediatricians, mental health professionals, health policy specialists, pre-natal and early childhood educators, community services and social workers.

Provide leadership for early parenting and early childhood development at all levels of Government

Provide leadership at all levels and in all sectors of government involved in supporting early parenting education and care (pre- and post-natal), and early childhood development.

Mobilising policy makers and civil society

1.1. Raise awareness in all relevant sectors and levels of government on the long-term impact of interventions during early childhood and the early parenting period.

1.2. Establish a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder platform for consultation and involvement of all key stakeholders.

1.3. Define a Childhood and Early Parenting (CEP) Policy, with implementation and operational parameters, in consultation with mothers and all key stakeholders in CEP, affirmed by all levels and sectors of government.

Preparing the Business Case

1.4. Complete a Gap Analysis relative to the CEP-related UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, to identify country-specific issues to be addressed in the National CEP Policy.

1.5. Complete an evidence-based assessment, calculating the cost to society of problems originating during the CEP period, relative to the cost of intervention.

1.6. Develop and publish the national business case (Return on Investment), for CEP with input from with all key stakeholders, considering the health, social, and economic aspects. It should explain and justify the national Initiative and its funding.

Implementation

1.7. Establish structures at all levels of government, with plans for implementation, co-ordination, service delivery measures and monitoring, including partnerships and engagement with key stakeholders in CEP.

Promote partnerships between government, non-government and civil society organisations

Promote partnerships between government, professionals (in health, social and educational sectors), non-government and civil society organisations and engage with policy makers at national level as called for in SDG17:

2.1. Providing a multi-stakeholder platform for consultation and a voice for engagement with policy makers at national level.

2.2. Ensuring a collaborative approach in research, knowledge exchange, best practices and delivery of CEP services.

2.3. Promoting international cooperation and establish partnerships or programmes to encourage sharing of knowledge and best practices in CEP.

2.4. Engaging communities and ethnic groups in supporting CEP initiatives.

2.5. If applicable, encouraging collaboration between developed and developing countries to promote the progressive implementation of CEP principles.

2.6. If applicable, developing funding programmes and international support, to help developing countries with this same aim.

2.7. Establishing a funding programme to encourage foundations and philanthropic organisations to support the CEP initiative.

Publish a local, regional or national Childhood and Early Parenting Policy, ensuring universal access and respecting cultural diversity and the voices of women and men

Affirm and publish a national policy, advocating a multi-sector approach to the provision of parenting support services and early childhood care for all mothers and their families – recognising 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 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:

Awareness, education and commitment

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.

A definition of the coverage including

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 child hood care and education.

Implementation

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.

Establish infrastructure and capacity for education and the delivery of care.

Establish the infrastructure and an integrated network of service providers to provide a continuum-of-care, and with the capacity to meet CEP needs. Put in place measures and reporting processes to monitor implementation progress.

4.1. Assess the capacity required to implement the CEP Policy, in
relation to infrastructure, capacity of service delivery organisations and availability of trained professionals.

4.2. Identify Capacity Gaps and develop plans to address them, with associated funding needs.

4.3. Define the Operating Model and guidelines governing the delivery of health care (for mother and child), social services, and early childhood care, through a network of service providers and partnerships between government, non-government and civil society stakeholders in CEP.

4.4. Develop the infrastructure e.g. care centres and transport, to enable access by all population groups to CEP care and services as called out in SDG9.

4.5. If applicable, address the issue of adequate and equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls as defined in SDG6.

4.6. Assess the needs for qualified health care, social services, childcare and education professionals, and develop plans to address the gaps identified.

4.7. Where applicable, address the need for qualified educators through international cooperation for educator training and creation of scholarships for education of professionals in disadvantaged communities and countries as defined in SDG4.

Promote best practices in education and the delivery of care, for mothers and professionals

Promote exchanges between CEP stakeholders (universities, research organisations, professional organisations, and CEP service providers) to create a validated national set of best practices, and deliver CEP education and care based on these practices as defined in SDG4.

5.1. Establish partnerships with stakeholder organisations and CEP service providers (health, social, education and care professionals), to maintain a validated national knowledge base, forums and channels for dissemination of knowledge and best practices in relation to CEP.

5.2. Assess the CEP education needs for CEP professionals, mothers and caregivers in the areas of prenatal, childbirth, early childhood care, attachment, play and stimulation. Include specialist training to identify child mental health issues and at-risk or vulnerable parents and families.

5.3. Develop an education curriculum for CEP professionals based on the CEP knowledge base (college and university level) to meet the needs for qualified educators.

5.4. Enhance the enabling technology, in particular information and telecommunications, aiming to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet and platforms or applications for information and education on CEP, including e-learning portals and webinars as defined in SDG9.

5.5. Implement an awareness and education programme in CEP for teenagers, parents-to-be, mothers, families, and caregivers. In relation to teenagers, draw on experience in other countries and the use of multiple channels (school programmes, brochures, social media publicity, videos, applications on mobile devices etc.).

5.6. Provide pre-natal awareness and education for mothers which emphasise both the physical and emotional aspects of parenting (e.g. breastfeeding, nutrition and attachment), the child’s well-being and healthy social and emotional development.

5.7. Provide early childhood care and development by caregivers with an understanding of the importance of attachment during early childhood, so children are ready for pre-primary school.

Adopt a multi-sector approach, ensuring a continuum-of-care in the delivery of physical, emotional and mental health services and early childhood care

Deliver a full spectrum of CEP physical, emotional and mental health support and social services, and early childhood care, including services for special needs, throughout the CEP period.

6.1. Take steps to address local and country-specific issues and to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, in line with targets set out in SDG3.

6.2. Provide universal access to the agreed CEP health and social services, ensuring that these are accessible to all, without discrimination, including to populations in remote areas.

6.3. Include delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including
family planning, information and education.

6.4. Encourage a culture of collaborative working and information sharing between all sectors and levels of government and organisations delivering CEP services, with shared funding where appropriate, to provide a continuum-of-care for mothers and children.

6.5. Develop information systems to support information sharing between agencies and tracking of at-risk families and those with special needs (e.g. teenage mothers).

6.6. Provide specialist services and support for vulnerable or disadvantaged families, or those experiencing difficulties, to provide guidance and support and promote parent-child interaction, including parent-child counselling if needed.

6.7. Raise awareness and provide support for women, suffering from pre- and post-natal depression, or who are victims of intimate violence which often starts when they become pregnant.

Measure and publicly report on targets and achievements in relation to Early Parenting and Early Childhood Development

Closely monitor and evaluate service quality and effectiveness in order to maintain an economic and social evidence base, which will enable the prioritisation of initiatives and the allocation of funding.

7.1. Establish national targets and parameters for measuring achievement of targets across all areas of the CEP initiative as called for in SDG17.

7.2. Publish and communicate the National CEP Initiative and Policies, including plans for achieving SDG targets related to CEP.

7.3. Measure and report on progress relating to targets, internally to governments and service delivery organisations and externally to the wider public, including NGOs and organisations representing women and mothers.

7.4. Evaluate the service outcomes to create an evidence-based assessment of their effectiveness and cost-benefit. Use the results to inform decisions on priorities and allocation of funding.

Support the Mother and Child Manifesto - become a CEPPs Partner or Supporter.