1A The first 1000 days


Mandy Seyfang,
Emerging Minds
Wednesday November 21 2018

Time: 1:30pm – 2:00pm

Room: Kuranda Ballroom

1A The first 1000 days

Looking back looking forward- valuing relationship



Working with disadvantaged young parents represents one of the most significant challenges for contemporary services. Although research is highlighting the effects of intergenerational disadvantage, our ability to respond to marginalised young parents is still developing. The National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health offers practice support tools for all clinical and non-clinical professionals engaging with parents with complex issues. This includes the early intervention and prevention of infant and child issues that can be caused by many of the adversities faced by disadvantaged young parents. Engaging with these parents through a child-focused lens can be challenging. Many young and disadvantaged parents are wary of service provision because of their own experiences or because they fear child protection involvement. The ability of practitioners to build partnerships built on transparent and non-stigmatising processes is paramount.

Without a deliberate focus on parenting and adult adversity, children’s social and emotional wellbeing can become invisible within a practice context. The challenge of acknowledging the injustices that many young and disadvantaged parents have experienced, while maintaining accountability to children is a fine balance.

This presentation will use a video-based case study to explore the many opportunities for recognising the past in the present and exploring relational approaches that support parental engagement and reflection, rather than shaming a parenting cohort who are routinely judged and scrutinised. Building workforce capacity in this area has the potential to improve outcomes for children’s social and emotional wellbeing and therefore support the foundation of healthy development. This presentation will lead practitioners to avenues for further available free workplace training and resources, to continue this considered conversation within the sector, agencies, practitioners and of course parents and their children.


Mandy Seyfang is a Senior Workforce Consultant and Ruth Crooke also works for Emerging Minds as a Workforce Consultant. They support workers and organisations in the field of promotion, prevention and early intervention as it relates to the mental health of infants and children.