TWO infant bonding services at North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have been hailed as 'rare jewels' in a report this week.

The charity Parent Infant Partnership UK found Halton and Warrington's Baby and Infant Bonding Support and Knowsley's Building Attachment and Bonds Service among the few areas in the UK to have teams doing such valuable work.

A wealth of evidence shows that serious, persistent difficulties in early relationships – if not addressed - can have effects on babies' brain development, and lifelong physical and mental health.

Parent Infant Partnership UK said the Trust is doing valuable work to provide specialist support to families where babies' emotional wellbeing and mental health is most at risk.

Today's report describes how services for children under two are not only incredibly important, but also require practitioners to have specialist skills in how to work with babies and their families.

In Halton and Warrington, the Baby and Infant Bonding Support (BIBS) offers specialist therapeutic support to parents who are experiencing difficulties bonding or developing their relationship with their baby.

The national award winning Building Attachment and Bonds Service (BABS) in Knowsley, helps parents and infants to build the best possible bond and attachment relationship.

Dr Lisa Marsland, consultant clinical psychologist and Strategic Service Lead for the service, was in Parliament to support the release of the report alongside Parent Infant Partnership UK.

Dr Karen Bateson, the organisation's head of clinical strategy and development, said: "It is now widely recognised that what happens in the first 1001 days of a child's life, from conception to age two, is key to enabling that child to thrive.

"During this period of rapid brain growth, babies are shaped by their environment, particularly their relationship with their parents.

"Healthy brain development depends upon babies having secure, responsive relationships with their parents or caregivers."

Simon Barber, chief executive at North West Borough's Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I'm incredibly proud that both of our parent infant mental health services have been cited in the Rare Jewels report that was launched in Parliament, for the fantastic work they do.

"We are one of only a few trusts across the UK that offers such services to families in the community.

"They are working with some of the most vulnerable families in the UK who desperately need these services, which will help them break through their difficulties and build on the most important thing in their lives – their relationship with their baby".

To view the Rare Jewels report – specialised parent-infant relationship teams in the UK, visit: