How early child and family support began in the UK

The chosen words then for early support professionals were ‘keyworker’ or ‘key worker’

In the early 1990s there were two or three local projects in the UK that were providing a keyworker service to families whose baby or infant had significant special needs. To my knowledge, two of these were in Wales run by public services.  

In England, there was a voluntary initiative (or charity) called One-Hundred-Hours. This was evaluated after the first two years and then at the end of the decade.  The evaluations can be seen at these two links:

When the Bough Breaks: An independent survey into families’ perceptions of One Hundred Hours keyworker service (1994). Free PDF

The Keyworker: a practical guide (in family support) Free PDF

Do you have further information about early child and family support in the UK at that time?

Do you have information about early child and family support starting in other countries?

There is a very clear evolution happening around the world:

  1. This began with concern for babies and infants who had significant challenges to their development and learning.
  2. The next stage was concern also for the parents and other family members.
  3. Now comes a growing awareness that the professionals around these children and families also need support because of the very great and unusual demands made on them in this new multiagency and multidisciplinary workplace.

See: Thoughts following Michael Guralnick’s 2023 paper on design of early child and family support

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Peter Limbrick,


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