The Voice of the Infant Best Practice Guidelines and Infant Pledge have been co-produced by a short-life working group, on behalf of the Infant Mental Health Implementation and Advisory Group, which is part of the Scottish Government's Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board. Members are listed in Appendix 1.
The intention is to provide guidance on how to take account of infants' views and rights in all encounters they may have with professionals in statutory or third sector services, or in public spaces such as shops, libraries or galleries.
The term 'Voice of the Infant' is used to convey our understanding that babies have their own minds and have things to communicate from birth. The Guidelines offer suggestions about how those who work with babies and very young children* can notice, facilitate and share the infant's feelings, ideas and preferences which they have let us know about through their gaze, body language and vocalisations. The Infant Pledge (Appendix 2) sets out what infants should expect from those around them. It encourages mindful commitment to facilitate infants to express their feelings, and to consider their views, uphold their rights and take action accordingly.
This guidance is primarily written for all those who come into contact with babies and very young children through their work in community settings and nurseries, and in education, third sector, health and social services, both general and specialist. They can support infants to be active participants in these services, and inform the care and decisions that affect them. It may also be of interest to a wider audience including policy makers and families.
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