Conversations with the Dundee Early Intervention Team, extended

Iriss.fm, Episode 192
By Iriss
Published on 7 Dec 2017

The Dundee Early Intervention Team (DEIT) provides early intervention support to families.

The team is a partnership of the four leading children’s charities in Dundee – Aberlour, Children 1st, Action for Children and Barnardo’s Scotland – the team works together with Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside and Dundee Voluntary Action.

Practising a social pedagogy model, the team work alongside families to build their capacity to tackle challenges and make sustainable change.

In 2017 Iriss worked with the Dundee Early Intervention Team to capture learning about the partnership model underpinning the team and to evidence the impact of its support on families.

In this conversation, practitioners Natalie, Harriet, Jade, Bianca and Brian share their experiences of working with families as part of the Dundee Early Intervention Team.

Date of recording
Audio transcript

The Dundee Early Intervention Team (DEIT) provides early intervention support to families.

The team is a partnership of the four leading children’s charities in Dundee – Aberlour, Children 1st, Action for Children and Barnardo’s Scotland – the team works together with Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside and Dundee Voluntary Action.

Practicing a social pedagogy model, the team work alongside families to build their capacity to tackle challenges and make sustainable change.

Families supported by the team report feeling hopeful, empowered, listened to and cared for.

Relationships are at the heart of the work.

In 2017 Iriss worked with the Dundee Early Intervention Team to capture learning about the partnership model underpinning the team and to evidence the impact of its support on families.

In this conversation, practitioners Natalie, Harriet, Jade, Bianca and Brian share their experiences of working with families as part of the Dundee Early Intervention Team.

Part 1 – Social Pedagogy

The conversation opens with a discussion about the social pedagogy model applied by the team to support families. The practitioners talk about the vital importance of developing authentic relationships with families and the professional confidence that comes from using the model. They also share their reflections on referrals into the team and building on these to identify what a family really needs.

F    I suppose it’s like a framework, a different kind of style of working.  Not necessarily completely different, a lot of it I guess people would describe as common sense but what social pedagogy does that’s different is it gives you like the theories behind that common-sense style approach to say why you do what you do so it places relationships at the centre of everything.  It’s about you know using relationship theories, using communication theories to sort of make that bigger picture of where someone’s journey…where someone might be on their journey and then using your skills in relational based practice to actually support them to move forward on their journey or to go in their direction that they want to go in.  Sometimes it might not be an expected direction but it’s all okay within the sort of style of social pedagogy.
Int.    What’s it like working in that way?
F    I love it, for me I think when we first did the training they say that you have a Haltung (… unclear)
F    Yeah.
M    Uh huh.
F    …so it’s like your way of being and I would say I definitely adapted that into just my life in general.  So social pedagogy is a part of me and not just like my work so for me it’s quite easy like I love making relationships and I recognise that without a strong relationship you’re not really going to make any positive change or not sustain any positive change.
M    Yeah I agree, I think it’s quite freeing way to work in the sense of, like Harriot’s saying, that…and even Natalie in her explanation of social pedagogy and how often she used the word relationship.  You know I mean relationship is key and that whole part about providing a theory base to why you’re doing something that you would probably do anyway is quite a freeing way to work in terms of building relationships in actual…I don’t want to say meaningful cos in work relationships aren’t meaningful but the more sort of practical side of your support.  You know that you’re backed up by theory in the sense for doing something that you would want to do anyway, if that makes sense.
F    For me it was about confidence too that so not confidence in terms of building relationships but professional confidence so sometimes in other styles of working you come up against questions around why.  Why are you going to do it like that?  Why do you think that’s valuable to spend so much time on play or so much time just sitting in the house talking?  Or those type of questions can come up because there’s such a drive to have outcomes, there’s such a drive to show evidence of why, evidence of what…
F    Yeah.
F    …evidence in pictures and for me it gave me a professional confidence to say well actually no here’s all the reasons why I am actually sitting talking for an hour today and not worrying about really writing all of it down on a bit of paper.  It’s not forming an assessment, it’s not…it’s just a part of building up that relationship with that person so that the trust is there so that when you then come to the practicalities you have that basis to say well this is why, why I’m suggesting this and that person will say well based on what we’ve already got as a relationship, I trust that that’s something that you’re not asking me or telling me about or discussing with me and there’s room for them.
F    Yeah we had quite a lengthy discussion earlier on about the referrals, how often does the referral reflect what is actually happening in the family home?  Not often.
M    Uh huh.
F    Hardly ever.
M    Yeah.
F    And Brian described it as being a snapshot and Jade talked about you know building the relationship and then you suddenly learn so much more about the family because they’re happier to share and there can often be a bias and a bit of a judgement in a referral which would mean that they work that you might be doing especially in early stages would not be…I don’t know, maybe not appreciated by other professionals, but definitely not understood…
M    Uh huh.
F    I think…
F    …but the family do trust you in that stage…
F    Uh huh.
F    …and that’s when you will learn so much more about what they actually need.
F    Yeah, I think it’s hard for maybe referrers to understand that so a lot of referrals come in and they’ve identified what that family needs and actually like maybe they’re only seeing what’s happening in school…
F    Uh huh.
F    …or what’s…you know a small amount of time and actually when you go out and spend that time getting to know them what the referrer thinks is the priority is not a priority for the family and why would you start working on something that the family aren’t willing to start working on.  So I can understand why that might be frustrating for referrers because sometimes we will go back and say like actually right now we’re not going to work on this because the family want to work on these things but it normally means that at a review stage further down the line because you’ve built up that trust and relationship you can say right so remember when we first started working together school thought we should maybe work on this, why don’t we try that now and they’re normally in a better place to try it but if you just immediately go in and say well this is what the referral says and this is what we need…the barriers go up straight away because they don’t want someone coming out to tell them what to do.  They want someone who wants to listen and find out about how their family work and what makes them tick.
F    Cos a big thing and especially in the approach is about there’s an idea of velcro’ing yourself so when you’re on this journey you’re not walking in front or behind, you’re walking alongside.  That idea of velcro’ing yourself together for the duration of the work, it is a collaboration it isn’t all about as a professional I think you need this or as a family we’re only willing to do that.  It’s a meeting together of what should we do together to help things look more positive for you so combining the social pedagogy with the solutions focused style of work means that the families never feel that pressure that you have to do this today or they shouldn’t feel that pressure certainly because you work on the relationship first and then…

Part 2 - Challenges

The team then move on to discuss the challenges of building trust and relationships. They also reflect on the importance of families feeling empowered and of carefully planning for when the team’s support comes to an end, particularly when there might be attachment issues.

Int.    Yeah, when is it challenging to build that trust and that relationship, when is it difficult?
F    I think sometimes families have maybe a misunderstanding or a judgment of what you’re there to do like you say some families feel like you’re going to come in and say do this, do that and this is what we’re going to do and that’s not what it’s about so I think sometimes it’s trying to put that across to parents, we’re not coming to tell you what to do but we want to work with you to try and improve things so I think that can be challenging.
F    If they have had difficult experiences in the past…
M    Yeah.
F    …with services, it doesn’t have to be a specific service, it can be any service even just a challenging relationship with the education set and anything like that can have instant difficulties for parents to feel that that’s not just what’s going to continue to happen so that they can have their own, whether it’s insecurities, fears, worries, whatever way you would call that and that can prevent them in the very early days from feeling like they can talk.
F    There’s also the difficulty because of the range of support that we can provide and the intensity of it, we might get families who are…maybe just you know at the top end of early intervention, so you’re talking about families that have got probably experiences of different services, maybe some social work involvement along the way just you know duty visits that kind of thing and what our service has been presented to them as if you don’t work with them then you’re definitely going to go to social work and it can take a long time to reassure a family that actually we’re not a last resort…it’s not compulsory and just really reminding them that it’s a voluntary service and it’s their choice to work with us.  We experience that quite a lot but that choice can be powerful as well, that idea that even if it is a last resort for a family or they feel that that’s the position that they’ve been put in to give back the choice, to give back the control and not say well I’m coming in and you’re going to is very empowering for family and so it’s the same idea as when we’re not saying well I know that this is the way you should do it, we’re saying what is going to work for your family?  You know what your family looks like, you’re the expert in your children and yourselves cos it’s not just about the children, it’s about the family as a whole cos you can make huge changes for a child but if the parents don’t have the ability to sustain that for any reason whether it’s just that they’re not sure or any number of other reasons that could get in the way then it’s not going to make a long term…whereas this is about making a long-term difference.
F    I guess a big part of it is that we’re not coming in and taking over, you’re supporting the families to build things up themselves so that you’re hopefully not creating any kind of dependency.  You’re helping them to do it themselves and you’re just supporting them with that.
M    Yeah, empower them but not dependency like we’re there to support but we’re also…we’re supporting you to feel empowered to be able to take these things on yourself because I think that’s something we’re all pretty good in the team is knowing that we’re not going to be with these families for ever so we’re always working towards a goal and that will be the goal of the family, it’s not for us to decide but when that family reaches that goal there’s not a role for us and that’s ideal, that’s the point you want to get to.
F    It’s that thing about begin with the end in mind as well, like one of the biggest things about the work is…and that’s not just from the families perspective that’s also as a worker because again when they’ve complicated issues in family it’s easy to feel a strong sense of whether you call it protection, attachment whatever way you want to phrase that but it’s easy to feel like this family is really particularly connected with you for whatever reason but it’s about we know where we’re going altogether and there’s an agreed plan you know roughly when the end is coming so it’s not like surprise it’s the end, everyone’s aware all the way through and that includes the children which it can be harder for children than for parents to deal with the end but they all find their own way especially if throughout the work you’ve spoken about “and when things end” you know some children will talk about like they’ll equate it to things they know like Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee or whatever you know people that they’ve seen on the tv come in, do something and then leave and they see the good in that.
F    I think as well if there is children with obviously sometimes we support children with attachment issues so that immediately makes it very difficult when it does come to leaving but I think the fact that we…I think we try and access things with families in the community that they can continue to access without our support so…
F    They don’t feel like we’re …
F    …we’re not taking them to fun factory or to the cinema every time we pick them or we go out with them, we’re trying to encourage them to do things that they could still continue to do after we leave.  But also if attachment is an issue for that family or that child, we would make sure that we do…so in the past we’ve made like memory books together or it might be that for the next 6 months, every 3 months school will send a postcard and we’ll send one back to school because recognising it especially if children have been adopted of course they’re going to have bigger attachment issues so they need a longer period of…
F    Disconnecting.
F    Yeah.
M    The ending needs to be a little more careful and thought out.

Part 3 - Flexibility

Next, the discussion focuses on the benefits of providing flexible support to families in their homes and of the firsthand insight this gives practitioners into the family’s challenges.

F    I think from a purely practical point of view as well we’ve got the resources to be able to do things intensively and then reduce it, so you could go in and work at the families pace depending on what they need or what they ask for and you can build up that support to make sure that you can kind of taper it off so there’s less need for you as you go along and we’re one of the few services I think that can actually invest that amount of time at critical points of the day.  Maybe you’ll see a family 3 or 4 nights a week for a bedtime routine, maybe then it’ll go down to one or 2 and then it’s just phone support after that and that’s actually what you want.  So we’ve got the practical resources behind us and time and times that we’re available.
F    I think it’s important, I don’t think we…that’s not our selling point is that we’re available whenever because they think it’s important families don’t become dependent but what I think is good is that it means that if there is working families, we can see them after 5 o’clock at night or at the weekend to do family sessions then everyone in the family feel involved whereas other services would have to maybe just see mum and the kids whereas we have the ability to like say okay we won’t do anything through the week, we’ll wait until the whole family is there and I think that again is a massive thing for…especially for dads feeling involved, it’s important and often it is the dads that are maybe out working if it’s a big family and the mums are having the more caring role but I think it’s still important for the dads to feel a part of that.
F    And also with the flexibility of hours, you can be there when they actually have the problems so it’s not a case of you know phone this number, get some advice.  You’re actually there you can say okay well we’ve just seen this happen, why don’t the next time I come out we try this to see if that stops whatever you know thing that happened from happening?  You’re not just saying tell me about when that happened, oh here’s some advice.  You’re actually saying right I’ve seen it, I see what you’re dealing with, I understand where the problem is arising let’s see if we could use a strategy like this, let’s see if we can add in a bit of that and you can continue to adapt and change based on what you’re seeing because you know sometimes maybe you put one strategy in, maybe the child changes their behaviour because oh I see that strategy, I’m not having it let me just you know so if you can walk through that with the parents that’s completely different than just saying well if you phone me at 9 o’clock in the morning and tell me about what bed time was like.  You know so I think that that flexibility is important.
F    Yeah it’s the reassurance that it’s okay, I’m sitting on the stairs beside you…it’s 20 to 10 at night…
M    That’s just what I was about to say.
F    …the whole house is in chaos, you’re crying into your cup of tea.  It’s okay, and that it will not be like this forever and you have spent many nights sitting on the stairs with people crying into cups of tea so it kind of normalises it but it helps them to contain things and gives them some hope and that hope that it will improve is what continues the support.
F    I’ve noticed a couple of families saying as well that they appreciate that we see sometimes the behaviours cos if the child is really good at school, the parent sometimes feels like people don’t believe them because they don’t see it but because we are there maybe at tea time or in the morning when you’re trying to get them out the door for school and at bed time or whenever.  We see that challenging behaviour and they appreciate that somebody that says it’s hard.

Part 4 – Early Intervention

The discussion now moves on to focus on early intervention and how the understanding of this in the partnership has evolved in response to what families need. The team reflect on changing tariffs within social work and the impact of this on the support provided by the service.
F    I feel like everyone’s understanding of early intervention is different.
Int.    Okay.
F    Yeah.
M    Uh huh, uh huh.
F    So actually there’s not a definition of early intervention because if you asked anyone who’s working in children and family services they would give you a different definition…
F    Yeah.
F    …and that makes it very difficult cos we’re on a time frame.
F    And also early for who?  Because if it’s the first time the family has ever been referred and that child happens to be 10, that’s still early for that family but it’s not necessarily early intervention in the sense of 0-3, 0-5 which is the common misconception.
Int.    Do you have a shared understanding in the DEIT about early intervention…
F    Yes.
Int.    …and what is that shared understanding, can you say a bit about that?
F    I think Natalie summed it up there…
M    Yeah.
F    …that it’s about what sense…
F    Early to family.
F    …it’s about understanding that family.
F    And it’s about meeting family’s needs when things present before it becomes a crisis as such or maybe as it’s reaching a crisis point cos that was originally a part of this service was that the idea of this team was around those families that were hitting the crisis point but weren’t quite at the point of statutory services but they needed something because otherwise they had a high likelihood of escalating up to statutory…
F    Yeah, yeah.
F    …there wasn’t anything catering specifically for that need and un-met need particularly in the 5-10 age group is what it originally said but that’s not our primary age, that’s the primary age for another part of the UK so that was adapted to be 5-12 and then at that point it wasn’t families 0-5 and there was a lot of questions about that because early intervention is 0-5 isn’t it?  But then it’s okay there’s room here to expand so it’s 0-12.
F    Yip, it’s evolved.
F    But it’s about you know what a family needs and when, needs don’t just happen when a baby’s born, needs can happen you know when a child maybe develops an additional support need which might not present until they are a bit bigger or it can develop because a family goes through an unexpected change and life happens.
M    Yeah I think another challenge as well is, we spoke a bit about it earlier on is the change in tariffs within social work and how as their tariff rises ours kind of has to rise with that in a sense too and there’s this whole grey area that social work, there’s a need for families to have some support but they’re not quite at the crisis point.  So in inverted commas for social work but what service is there if it’s not us?  You know what I mean?  So we’re operating in that kind of grey area and it could range from things like bed time routines and that’s just what a family needs or it could be really complex challenging needs that a family has they’re requiring support with and that’s what we’re kind of…I know we’ve all got families…different families with different ranges in needs at the moment so I think a challenge with working at early intervention is again the definition of what it is but also what does that mean to us as workers and what does that say about sort of social care landscape as a whole…
F    Yeah.
M    …and how we fit into that, where we operate.
F    (… unclear) hand in hand challenge with that is therefore what expectation does that create of what you actually do.  So you know because there’s such a wide range of need and it’s all at different stages and it’s all about different things for different people, it’s very individualised so the expectation then on this service from external services can be like the magical band aid that fixes everything or the magic want that goes in and suddenly there’s not a need any more for that family which is not a true reflection of what things look like so there can be expectations that the referrals come in to the service therefore it’s now all fixed you know where as much as you know we do what we do very well we don’t look at that as a stand-alone thing, we look at that as part of a wider partnership and that’s not just within our partner organisations, that wider partnership across the city that’s the linking up.
F    And I think it goes further than that and it goes more to like service related things as well like if early intervention in the city is becoming higher tariff then our criteria should maybe change if our families are becoming higher tariff because we’re given a time frame for what is originally early intervention and yeah it has done once but I feel like it’s still increasing slightly and I don’t know, for me, I guess for my values I worry are we setting families up to fail if we’re not changing that criteria because they are higher tariff so we’re not going to be able to achieve what maybe 2 years ago we could achieve in that time frame do you know what I mean?
F    Yeah it’s a bit about challenging the…I suppose the things of just come to be accepted that early intervention and that period of support should be around about 20 weeks, anything beyond that might encourage dependency but actually could we test that, could we push that, could we change it?  And I think we see that…I mean early intervention, families, the landscape here every single referral is completely different and really has to be read through carefully and considered carefully because it is genuinely case by case there is not one easy yes, no predictable outcome for any referral.

Part 5 - Hope

Next, the team discuss the importance of fostering hope in families, and of ensuring they feel listened to and empowered.

F    A lot of families before they start working with us don’t have very much hope and I think we are able to offer them that support and believe that what they’re telling us is happening and the fact that we can then go to team around the child meetings and almost advocate for them and say that, like this is what I’m seeing, I’ve been hit on the head with the toy whistle this morning before the meeting, it’s not just her do you know what I mean and I think…
F    It’s that belief.
F    …if weren’t there for that support like that Velcro working alongside them then I think…
M    Who is.
F    …yeah who is, they would lose all hope.
F    They would become lost and it’s an empowerment thing again.
F    Absolutely.
F    You know hope goes along with feeling empowered and a lot of people think about…I think everyone can probably think about very specific case examples but how disempowered a family was to start with, what they’re initial statements were, whether it was I just don’t know what else I’m going to do or whether it was I just feel so like I can’t do anything right and…
F    I’ve had enough…
F    …it’s all awful…
F    …no one’s listening.
F    …this is the end of it.
M    Don’t know what to do anymore.
F    Yeah and then we’re generally speaking the journey and it doesn’t have to be because huge things change, but generally speaking by the end of that journey they’re saying something different in that, they’re usually saying you know, I feel better about things, I feel listened to whether it’s sometimes it’s that things have completely changed and life feels completely different.  Sometimes it’s just those small…
F    The fact that someone’s believed.
F    Yeah.
M    Yeah and somebody’s been there with them to be like you’ve got this, you can handle this.  Sometimes that makes a world of a difference and maybe they’re circumstances like you say Natalie aren’t totally different but they’ve got a more positive look on it and that’s been because of the support.
F    I think there’s been a lot of different ways over the whole time of the team so there was originally like a family support booklet and that was how reviews were carried out and within that there was a space for like what do you think of things and that was quotes based so it was all based on what families providing a quote and then as time’s gone on there’s been time lines, there’s been graphic representations of what the support has meant to…sometimes to children, sometimes to parents.
F    Photographs I mean, if it is about feeling isolated and stuff I feel like if the words are isolated like not accessing community groups and stuff like that at the start I had photos say 100 words if there’s 10 photos of them out in the community doing things then surely that in itself…I’m nursery trained so it’s all photo based but yeah I just think yeah if you can see a photo and I try my hardest to make sure that children’s referrals that I pass on to people the photos on the front cover because it’s a person, it’s a wee person it’s not just a name on  a bit of paper with an additional support need or a behaviour problem.  These are people, families and we’re guests in their home and we need to remember that.
F    We talked about that earlier.  I think 2 of the words that come most common when I meet families towards the end of their support or I’m hearing from them afterwards are caring, they felt cared for and listened to, those are the 2 probably most prominent bits of feedback that have been consistent in the whole time I’ve been here, no matter what the time you know if they’ve had a short intervention or the full 20 weeks and maybe a little bit extra and that I think is what make the difference for them, you did care, it was genuine because that’s the other part about the relationship.  It’s not just about being a professional, I’m from DEIT I’m here to do this…it’s more than that.  It’s a genuine connection, it’s what Harriet talked about that Haltongue … it’s about you as a person, it’s an authentic relationship…
F    I think that’s what…
F    …families believe that.
F    And we’re all different so everyone of our approaches is different like I know that I immediately make jokes cos that’s kind of how I deal with things like going in and act a bit stupid, half daft and by the end I hope that they’re just like oh she’s a bit daft, she can come back next week but everyone plays that differently and I think that’s what’s amazing about us is that sometimes we can go out to a family and recognise like actually this family would really benefit from having experiences with another man so like we can then partnership work together as colleagues and recognise that you know it is about the families and it’s not about this is my family and I’m going to…if they need input from someone else in the team then we will shout out and ask.

Part 6  - Peer support

Peer support and creating a nurturing environment are identified as crucial aspects of the team’s culture. The group reflect on formal methods including team meetings, supervision and reflective practice sessions as well as more informal ways the team support each other.

F    We have whole team ways in our team meetings we use social pedagogy as a standing part of team meetings.  We use energiser activities with each other…
F    But we look after each other as well, we provide something nice to eat…
F    Yeah day to day…
M    Yeah.
F    …make each other cups of tea and coffee.  It’s about that nurture caring aspect of it.
M    And knowing where…if say Jade’s going out on a visit and you’ve kind of spoke about it before and been like I’m a wee bitty nervous about this when Jade comes back in just being like you alright?  You know just checking in with each other and just…we all know each other quite well as well so I think when like when one of us have had like a rough night I mean and we’ve maybe not had much sleep last night and when I come in people will be like are you okay?  You know what I mean someone just asking if you’re okay makes you feel like yeah, I’m fine you know what I mean.  And it just kind of gives you that boost to know that it’s okay not to be okay as well you know what I mean?
F    We have like…that’s the informal day to day care and nurturing environment that it si but we also have our more formal opportunities to get together and you know think about let’s think a bit deeper about such and such a theory or a situation maybe someone’s stuck a bit within something so we have value based reflective practice sessions regularly.  We’re supported from other colleagues to do that, we support each other through peer support, chances to talk about…not just families but the day to day…is this working for everyone?  Should we change it, can we change it? You know a little bit control here and there over systems.
F    Do we all need to do the same?  Because everyone works differently like…
F    Does it matter, is it something that’s going to affect it?
Int.    So you have opportunities like that built in?
F    Yeah.
M    Yeah, quite frequent.
Int.    Do you have supervision…
F    Yeah.
F    Yeah.
Int.    …or is that the reflection you talked about?
F    We have formal supervision as well and we have had in the past group supervisions where it’s been appropriate to do that.  We’ve had solution circles type meetings to discuss sort of both challenges within service challenges and challenging families where maybe there is something that isn’t working.  Sometimes it’s nice to open that up to the team and say right okay, I’ve been trying this for so long, I don’t really feel like this is happening.  What do you guys think, can anyone suggest anything?
F    I feel like it always feels like there’s some kind of dialogue.  Whether it’s a one to one, whether it’s peer support, whether it’s supervision, it’s constant dialogue about all the different aspects of work it’s doesn’t start on a Monday and finish on a Friday…
F    I think Brian’s right…
F    …it’s really organic, it keeps going.
F    …as well like we do share because we’re all sitting at the same kind of island and stuff you can’t and I guess we’re all in this job for a reason cos we’re all very similar in the sense that we don’t shut up.  So you do, we’re always sharing about…most people know like what we’re going out to try or whatever so like what Brian’s saying we’re always talking about it and even if we’ve maybe not…been off for a week or whatever, you come back and you know that Natalie was doing something so you’re like how did that go?  So I guess there is just quite a natural catch up as well as some of the formal things.

Part 7  - Learning

The discussion draws to a close with the team sharing what they feel is the most important learning they’ve gained through being part of the DEIT team.
F    I don’t know if this is the biggest thing for me but the first thing that came to mind is the flexibility that we have within the team because in other jobs it’s quite…this is how it’s done and maybe you can look to evolve our whatever but everybody does the same whereas here I think there’s a really good level of flexibility that the way we like record some of our evidence and the way we display things or the way you do activities it’s…everybody does it differently and that’s a really nice way of kind of seeing people’s personalities within their work.
M    Yeah just on the back of that, I’d agree with everything that Jade said and like it’s okay that we do it differently.  I think that was the biggest thing for me, like there’s no regimented set way to do a certain activity like and within an activity the four of us will do things totally differently and that’s okay because we all know that there’s a goal that we’re trying to get to or something that we’re trying to get out of that activity and it’s not really about the activity itself it’s the end point and what you’re trying to get out of that and I think the biggest thing for me was just coming to terms with like that that’s okay, do you know what I mean and that there’s not a way that you have to do it.  There’s a way that you can just do it and using yourself and that’s okay to do that.
F    I guess for me I’ve learnt a lot about partnership working, I started in wee DEIT and it was all made up of children first workers and then I became part of DEIT and then there was me and 2 other children first workers moved over and then gradually I’m now the only one and I’ve been the only one for what 2 years maybe.  And I think that I’m very open about how I feel, everyone knows if I’m having a bad day and if I’m going to cry, I’m going to cry there’s no stopping me but no I’ve definitely…I’ve spoken to Bianca loads about how easily it is you can kind of feel just by being the only one you can sometimes feel a bit like oh where do I stand kind of thing but what I’ve learnt just how important it is to like…I’ve worked in the past with Linda Wood for example, Action for Children and never really at that point, I had Children First workers in the team with me and I never ever really gave it a thought and actually it is important to value everyone’s…children’s charity and the fact that they all have different values and I think it’s really important that that stays as a focus for DEIT.
Int.    Okay.
F    Yeah I would agree, it’s about showing and celebrating the differences between different organisations but also building on the shared values and that kind of then extends to families you know they’re all very different but there are common themes and for me it’s been about seeing how it all really is so linked because it’s about relationships, I don’t make a distinction between myself as a professional with a family to someone in social work or education.  For me it’s about that relationship and I guess…
F    And I think that…told from Debbie today when she was able to have lunch like how many teams…I mean I just feel like and this is so informal that anyone can kind of come in and join in and that’s amazing for us.
F    That’s the sort of human aspect of it, that nurturing and caring for and you don’t need to put a different hat on and it shouldn’t be about what your role is because you can perform the functions of your role and work towards your outcomes or whatever it is your objective is but actually still have that really nice relationship where you’re connecting with someone or supporting them, looking after them or learning from them.  We learn a lot from families, I’ve learned a lot about myself from these families and that’s the value of the work for me as much as achieving great outcomes with them.
Int.    Natalie do you…?
F    I think for me it’s probably something about change and evolution is the biggest learning curve because I was part of DEIT in its original 3 years and then I left because of the funding situation as did the majority of that team at that time because there wasn’t a guarantee about the future and I went away for a couple of years nearly and came back and for me there’s something about…the biggest learning curve is about evolution, about that things  always change but the important part of that for me is that the main reasons for things don’t change.  The reason that we exist is still the reason that we exist whether we’re 5 years in or 1 year in and those things don’t change and while how we may go about things change and evolve, the actual need for there to be a team doesn’t so I think the biggest learning curve is like dealing with the functioning changes I suppose, the day to day how things look but not losing that central core principles, values maybe all still are what they were whether you know…and it’s that hope that whatever the future does hold would hopefully be a continuation of the service because I think that’s really valuable but that’s still that same core that same exact business plan reason for why there is a business plan type thing is the same and that’s the families and the need for them to be supported.