Workforce development

In this section we have grouped together materials and resources which give examples of approaches or interventions that are or can be helpful and effective when working with parents who have experienced recurrent care proceedings. We have also included relevant research providing information about the experiences of parents and the types of support that are likely to be helpful in responding to the challenges parents can face. 


  • Ryan M (2021) Recurrent care proceedings: five key areas for reflection from the research. Spotlight Briefing.  Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. 

    The short briefing is intended for judges, lawyers and Cafcass guardians as well as for social care and third sector professionals.  It provides an overview of current knowledge in relation to research about recurrence – the prevalence and the impact on parents – as well as information about the range of services developing to support parents who experience recurrent proceedings.  

Group Work

These audio clips are about using group sessions when working with parents who have experienced recurrent care proceedings. 

Group Work with Dr Sheena Webb

  • This clip is Dr Sheena Webb, consultant clinical psychologist and clinical lead for the London Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDACs) specialist team, talking about group work with parents during care proceedings in FDAC and the use of group work to plug gaps in mental health service provision for parents. The group work focused on here is an anxiety group and a circle of security of group. FDAC teams are working with parents over the short time frame of care proceedings, often 26 weeks or less. Sheena also talks about the importance of keywork support around the group work (Length: 24 minutes).

New Beginnings 

  • This is Jadwiga Leigh from University of Lancaster describing the programme called New Beginnings for women who have experienced recurrent care proceedings in Stockport. She also describes the way group work fits into this 6 month programme.  (Length: 12 minutes).

Strengthening Families

  • Elaine Duke, manager, and Jude Hannam, lead practitioner, Strengthening Families, Salford, talk about the group work they do with women during pregnancies and after the birth of their children (Length: 3 minutes).

Evidence of need

Research in Practice resource on working with parents who have experienced recurrent care proceedings. This section of the resource considers the evidence of the need for specialist services and suggestions about measuring need. 

In the recorded presentation below, Claire Mason from the University of Lancaster introduces Lucy Griffiths and Rhodri Johnson from the Family Justice Data Partnership who talk about the findings from their work to track health data relating to mothers whose babies are the subject of care proceedings when they are newborns. The study found that a high proportion of these mothers experienced multiple vulnerabilities.

One thousand mothers in care proceedings in Wales. Maternal health, wellbeing, pregnancy and birth outcomes. (Length: 13 minutes)


Evidence of need - Using local Data

In this podcast, Beverley Barnett Jones talks about using local data to harness support from partners in health and treatment services based on her experience of setting up an Early FDAC pre-birth service for recurrent mothers in Coventry (Length: 5 minutes).

Care backgrounds

Professor Karen Broadhurst talks about the association between women’s own care histories and subsequent family justice involvement in relation to their own children (Length: 33 minutes).

Impact of removal

Challenges around pre-birth assessment

Effective approaches

  • Harwin, J etal. (2018). How Does FDAC Succeed with Parents with Substance Misuse Problems? Exploring Relational Practices within the English Family Drug and Alcohol Court. In: Child Abuse Review Vol 27, 266-279.
  • Slad, A. (2005). Parental reflective functioning: An introduction. Attachment & Human Development,7(3): 269 – 281. This paper introduces the construct of parental reflective functioning, which refers to the parent’s capacity to hold the child’s mental states in mind, and begins with a review of Fonagy and his colleagues’ essential ideas regarding the reflective function. Next, the applicability of this construct to parental representations of the child and the parent–child relationship is considered. A system for coding parental reflective functioning, which will serve as the organizing framework for this special issue, is described. Finally, the three papers that make up this special section are introduced. 
  • Crittenden, P. (2015). Crittenden’s Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment. This website has information about this model, publications and links to training. The model focuses on developing interventions to improve attachment that take account of the parent’s own attachment problems and the impact that is having on their parenting capacity.
  • Kennedy, H et al. (2017). Video Interaction Guidance UK (VIG). An intervention designed to improve communication within relationships. Parents reflect with professionals on short video clips of their positive interactions with their children.
  • Kennedy, H et al. (2017). How does video interaction guidance contribute to infant and parental mental health and well-being? Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 22(3) 500– 517.
  • Hoffman, et al. (2006). Circle of Security. A relationship-based early intervention programme designed to enhance attachment. 
  • Barlow, J. (2015). Parent-Infant Psychotherapy. Direct work to improve parent-infant relationship through observation in the home and reflection.


Video presentations, slides, published papers and other documents. Including resources developed by parents.
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