The British Psychological Society is calling for greater investment in community and early years services to make sure all children have the best start in life and to begin to tackle poverty in the UK.
In a new briefing, ‘Tackling the Foundations of Poverty’, the Society says psychological evidence can be used to create effective policy to tackle poverty. Policymakers need to understand that people have basic needs that must be satisfied before they can address their higher needs.
The BPS outlines how policymakers need a far greater understanding of how influences from children’s home and family environment, school, and local community play an important part in a child’s development.
Dr Hazel McLaughlin, president of the BPS, said: “When it comes to tackling poverty, there is no one-size-fits-all policy. What psychologists working with children, families and communities find, and what the research evidence shows, is that approaches that focus on getting the basics right are crucial.
“The psychological impact of adverse childhood experiences and growing up in poverty can extend into the school years and adulthood. Research indicates that it can be linked to lower academic aspirations, motivation to learn, and subsequent choices made about education, training, and employment. The BPS recognises the need to have policies underpinned by psychology which allow all of our children to flourish.”