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Better policy making to support mothers - sharing evidence on childcare policies, time spent with children, and maternal depression

Parenting 4

A panel of experts including Dr Alain Gregoire, chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Jonathan Swan, Head of Research at Working Families, Sarah McMullen, Head of Knowledge at National Childbirth Trust and Jonathan Rallings, Assistant Director for Policy, Barnardo’s, joined researchers and an audience of policy makers and practitioners to discuss recent ISER research on the experiences of mothers.

Professor Sonia Bhalotra presented findings from her work looking at the impact of cognitive behavioural therapy on mothers suffering from maternal depression and the long term effects on their health, attitudes and economic wellbeing. Her study found that the treatment was having a positive impact on mothers seven years after.

Professor Emilia Del Bono presented work on the time mothers spending with their children and the consequences for children’s cognitive development. Her study found that the more time a mother spends with her child between the ages of three and seven, the better that child’s cognitive and social skills will be.

Dr Birgitta Rabe presented evidence of the impact of the Government’s policy to increase free childcare to encourage more mothers to work. Her study found that the increase in part time childcare led to very little increase in mothers going to work. Towards the end of the first year of free childcare only 2 in 100 mothers with their youngest child in part-time childcare said they were actively looking for work

The event, which was part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, was chaired by Professor Pam Cox from the University of Essex.

Image credit: Anthony Cullen