Duchess of Cambridge sets up centre to focus on importance of early years

'The best investment for our future health and happiness is in the first five years of life'

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talks with children in the school's Reception Class as she visits Connor Downs Academy, during G7 Summit, in Hayle, Cornwall, Britain, June 11, 2021. Aaron Chown/PA Wire/Pool via REUTERS
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Britain's Duchess of Cambridge will launch a centre for early childhood on Friday to raise awareness on the importance of the first five years of children's lives and "transform society for generations to come", her office said.

The centre, set up as part of Kate and husband Prince William's Royal Foundation charity arm, will focus on three main areas.

They are promoting high-quality research, working with experts from all sectors to find solutions and developing campaigns to raise awareness and inspire action.

"I’ve spoken to psychiatrists and neuroscientists, to practitioners and academics and parents alike, and what has become clear is that the best investment for our future health and happiness is in the first five years of life," Kate said.

"By working together, my hope is that we can change the way we think about early childhood and transform lives for generations to come."

Kensington Palace said Kate, who has three young children aged from 3 to 7, had seen first hand since becoming a royal more than a decade ago how issues from addiction and violence to family breakdown and homelessness had their roots in the earliest years of life.

To coincide with the launch, the centre has published a report, Big Change Starts Small, written with help from the London School of Economics and The Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

This estimated that the cost of not taking preventive action in early childhood in England was £16.13 billion ($22.5bn), with society paying for remedial action including children in care and long-term mental health issues.

The announcement comes a week after Kate was joined by Dr Jill Biden, wife of US President Joe Biden, on a visit to a school during the G7 leaders' summit in Cornwall, England.

There they met a group of childhood experts from Britain and the US.

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