In December 2017, the House of Commons Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee put out a call for submissions to an Inquiry that would consider the evidence-base for early intervention policies, with a particular focus on ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ or ACEs. This article analyses those submissions and the transcripts of the Inquiry’s oral sessions in the belief that they constitute a useful window through which to explore the types of claims being made in ACEs discourse. Our aim is to assess whether the ACEs phenomenon represents a continuity with what has been termed the ‘first three years movement’ (Thornton, 2011a, 2011b) – social policy and philanthropic activism which focuses on the earliest years of life in the name of preventing social problems ‘down the line’. In particular, we consider constructions of parents as determinate of these social problems through their influence on their children and the ways in which these are gendered in new ways.
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