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Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England said: “I am concerned with reports that so many poor children are missing out on vital early years’ support that could improve life chances. There is broad consensus on the importance of a child’s early experience in defining life chances through childhood and into adult life. Children who grow up with poverty and disadvantage are more likely to have poor health, will have poorer employment prospects and are more likely to have poor mental health. Children’s development in the early years has a profound impact on all aspects of adult life and those who fall behind before school will often struggle to catch up.

“It is essential to identify the needs of disadvantaged children in the first few years of life, co-ordinate health, education and family support and measure progress as children enter school. This can dramatically improve life chances.”

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