Amsterdam invests in the first 1,000 days of vulnerable children
The first thousand days are crucial for a child’s development, yet not all of the 12,500 babies born in Amsterdam every year receive the same opportunities. The municipality of Amsterdam, therefore, launched the program, Healthy & Prosperous Beginning, to improve the quality of life of the first 1,000 days of children born into vulnerable families.
Some children, for example, are born into families where there is a history of domestic violence, financial issues or the parents suffer from psychological problems.
The municipality noted differences in the health of newborns depending on which area in Amsterdam their parents lived in. Particularly in Nieuw-West, Zuidoost and Noord, the mortality rates for newborns were high at 7, 10.5 and 5.5 per 1,000 births respectively. In comparison, the national average for mortality rates lies at 4.5.
“Where you stand in this city makes too much of a difference in terms of the opportunities you have for a healthy and promising life. Every child has the right to a good start as a stepping stone into a bright future”, Alderwoman for Healthcare and Youth and member of D66, Simone Kukenhiem said.
In collaboration with hospitals, general practitioners, health insurers, midwives and district teams, the municipality hopes to provide more information, care and support to vulnerable families. The municipality made 870 thousand euros for the Healthy & Prosperous Start program in 2021 and 2022.
For example, expecting parents in vulnerable circumstances will receive guided support by trained volunteers from the neighborhood. The volunteers will be there to provide answers to the parents’ questions about healthy food, exercise and where to find support. The municipality also wants to work on recognizing requests for help sooner.
Additionally, six parent groups will be launched in Nieuw-West, Zuidoost and Noord where group members can not only come for health check check-ups but also come into contact with other parents to support each other and exchange experiences.
The municipality of Amsterdam also announced they will be investing in providing better opportunities in primary and secondary schools, including additional learning time for around 40 thousand students, some of whom might also come from a vulnerable background.