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New research into the Early Years and taking it forward in original ways with Dr Susan Pawlby

30 September 2014

Dr Susan Pawlby’s work as lecturer and researcher at Kings College London in perinatal mental health and child maltreatment has developed in a unique way after the recent publication of a new paper revealing the true cost of perinatal depression. Dr Pawlby will be embarking on a skydive with her colleagues from the Institute of Psychiatry for the 70/30 Campaign – to reduce child maltreatment by 70% by 2030 – by supporting the transformation of early years provision in the UK. 

Dr Pawlby’s research over the last two years – much of it through the prominent South London Child Development Study (SLCDS) – has revealed the significant association between maltreatment and perinatal mental health issues, issues which are then transmitted from one generation of parents to the next. The cost of this, as revealed in Dr Pawlby’s new paper in Perinatal depression and child development: exploring the economic conqequences from a South London cohort is astronomical. 

Dr Pawlby’s work forms part of a dynamic new area of evidence spanning neurobiology to psychology that is finding its way into international policy guidance such as the World Health Organisation’s Investing in children: the European child maltreatment prevention action plan 2015-202 which was published last week. Much of this work is now catching the attention of the three main parties and will be an important policy area after the next General Election. This building momentum means that it’s time to employ this research to cause a categorical shift in the quality of family’s lives. The 70/30 Campaign run by the charity WAVE Trust that Dr Pawlby is supporting will be creating 4 Pioneer Communities across the UK to implement the programmes and policies that have emerged from this nascent body of knowledge.

Dr Pawlby said, ‘Now that we have such an incredible body of evidence to show the importance of the early years, we must use it to transform the quality of our children’s early lives.’

‘The benefits this transformation could bring are so significant in fact that I’m actually willing to jump out of a plane to support it, and to eradicate maltreatment and improve development during the early years. Plus, my son will be helping me by keeping me company on the way down.’

To find out more about the importance of development during the first 1001 days, you can read WAVE Trust’s Conception to Age 2 – The Age of Opportunity and NSPCC’s All Babies Count. If you would like to sponsor Susan, please go to or if you would like to be involved in the 70/30 campaign or the skydive please go to