The Parent-Infant Conference 2020: innovative and evidence-based practice to protect and promote the emotional wellbeing of all bumps, babies and toddlers

On Wednesday 29th January, 2020, the Parent-Infant Foundation co-hosted the first Parent-Infant Conference with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families at Kensington Town Hall in London.

The sell-out event featured high-profile speakers from the field of infant and early years mental health field in areas of research, policy and practice and was attended by 300 early years practitioners from around the UK.

The programme featured nineteen national and international speakers including:

Professor Lenneke Alink, Professor Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Emily Frith, Dr Joann Wilkinson, Ailsa Swarbrick, Professor Jane Barlow, Dr Nicola Cosgrave, Professor Helen Minnis, Jennifer Savage, Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Dr Bridget Tiernan, Roberta Marshall, Sally Hogg, Dr Anne McFayden, Olya Homonchuk and Professor Paul Ramchandani . With speakers from the Anna Freud including Nicola Labuschagne, Jessica James and Professor Pasco Fearon.

Panels were chaired by Professor György Gergely, Professor Karen Broadhurst, Chris Cuthbert, Dr Ian Robson and Professor Peter Fonagy.

The talks highlighted the latest thinking, intervention innovations and research in the field of mental health and brought together practitioners and experts from across the NHS, local authorities and third sector, with time included specifically for networking opportunities.

For more detailed information on the speakers and chairs, please see the 2020 Conference programme below.

You can view the programme below, or download it via this link.

[pdf-embedder url="" title="The Parent-Infant Conference Programme"]

You can view the event brochure with details of the day, the exhibitors and the venue here.

We are delighted to be able to share slides from various of the presentations on the day. 

Plenary 1: Unravelling child maltreatment: Input for prevention ingredients
Professor.dr. Lenneke Alink, Institute of Education and Child Studies, Leiden University

Plenary 3: Using Video-feedback Interventions to promote the mental health of young
children: lessons from a new intervention trial - Healthy start Happy start
Professor Paul Ramchandani, LEGO Professor of Play, University of Cambridge

Session 1: Innovation in early help

Chaired by Professor György Gergely, Professor of Cognitive Science, Central European University

Presentation 1 - Working with parents and babies living in temporary accommodation
Jessica James, Group Analyst and Consultant Parent-Infant Psychotherapist, AFNCCF

Presentation 2 - Gender Diversification of the Early Years Workforce (GenderEYE): Recruiting, Supporting and Retaining Male Practitioners
Dr Joann Wilkinson, Research Assistant, Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University

Presentation 3 - Improving, not proving: how we innovated at pace and at scale to adapt an evidence-based early help programme in England
Ailsa Swarbrick, Director, Family Nurse Partnership National Unit

Session 2: Integrated working with families on the edge of care and post-removal

Chaired by Professor Karen Broadhurst, Professor of Social Work, University of Lancaster

Presentation 1 - An integrated prebirth care pathway for high risk pregnant women   Professor Jane Barlow, Professor, of Evidence-based Intervention and Policy, Evaluation, Oxford University; President, AIMH UK

Presentation 2 - Implementation and Evaluation of The New Orleans Intervention Model: infant mental-health approach to improve the quality of permanent placement decisions                                                                                                                                                 Dr Nicola Cosgrave, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust; Clinical Director, London Infant Family Team NSPCC & Professor Helen Minnis, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Glasgow University

A mentalization-based group treatment approach to address the impact of complex trauma on women who have experienced recurrent removals of children.
Nicola Labuschagne, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, AFNCCF and Jennifer Savage, Pause Practitioner Lead

Session 3: Working with the system to meet the needs of high-risk families
Chaired by Chris Cuthbert, Director of Research, Lumos

The highs and lows of embedding a parent-infant team in Northern Ireland: from the NICU to CAMHS to fostering services
Dr Bridget Tiernan, Clinical Psychologist, ABCPiP

Session 4: Translating policy into practice

The infant mental health policy landscape and what NHS England are doing to change it
Sally Hogg, Head of Policy and Campaigning, Parent-Infant Foundation

Infant Mental Health in the Scottish Context
Dr Anne McFadyen, Infant Mental Health lead for the Perinatal Mental Health Scotland Managed Clinical Network

Over 300 people from the early years sector gathered for the Parent-Infant Conference at Kensington Town Hall. Here are a collection of photographs from the event. 

      Helen Minnis Emily Frith Nicola Cosgrave Jane Barlow Jessica James Joann Wilkinson Lenneke Alink Nicola Labauschagne Camilla Rosen

Olha Homonchuk Pascoe Fearon Paul Ramchandani Peter Fonagy Sally Hogg Trudi Severtradnati


We were delighted to host eleven exhibitor tables from the following organisations:

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

The Anna Freud Centre is a national charity which aims to transform the way we think about and deliver evidence-based mental health services for infants, children and young people in the UK and beyond. We bring together our current knowledge and experience in research, practice and policy to deliver change on the ground so that families get the help they need, when they need it. Alongside our early years therapeutic work with infants and their families, the Centre provides resources and trainings to other professionals to support them to more effective in their


VIG is a strengths-based, effective, brief relationship-based intervention for parents of children across all ages. VIG aims to promote enhanced sensitivity, well-being, confidence and capacity to mentalise, in both parent and practitioner. VIG has an established UK training and accreditation programme which includes on-going video-reflective supervision, and rigorous accreditation criteria. AVIGuk is an association of accredited supervisors and practitioners of VIG. AVIGuk regulates training and facilitates communication between those interested in training and available training opportunities. The training to become a VIG Accredited Practitioner usually takes between 15-18 months, depending on the trainee’s client caseload and access to regular VIG supervision. See for training information

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust

The Ready to Relate resource cards

From: Bradford District Care Foundation Trust, a collaboration between Perinatal and Infant Mental health and Health Visiting. The Ready to Relate cards are a highly visual tool designed to facilitate understanding of the parent-infant relationship for practitioners and parents. They aim to enhance behaviours contributing to a secure attachment between caregiver and child and support infant mental health and brain development. The pictorial aspect of the cards enables them to be accessible across cultures; the resource is also a valuable tool when working with interpreters. The cards are an interactive tool and can be used to make simple interventions, helping parents develop the skills and knowledge to enrich their parent-infant relationship.

Brazelton Centre UK

The Brazelton Centre UK is a national charity that promotes understanding of baby behaviour and the importance of strong infant-parent relationships. The organisation is founded on the pioneering work of the late Dr T. Berry Brazelton, Professor of Paediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School. It provides training for health professionals on the Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (NBAS) and the Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) system. It also offers workshops for expectant parents and other [email protected] 01223 314429

Institute of Health Visiting

The Institute of Health Visiting is a charity and academic body. Its core purpose is to improve outcomes for children and families and reduce health inequalities through strengthened health visiting services. Partnership working, education, research, quality improvement, practice development and leadership form the basis for our activities. Our Centre of Excellence enables professionals to respond effectively to the health needs of all children, families and communities using the latest evidence and policy. We have a credible record in upskilling the workforce through our accredited award-winning training programmes. Member benefits include access to our well-resourced website, monthly newsletter and special rates for our conferences and training.

Mellow Parenting

Mellow training and programmes are all about relationships. This includes parent-child relationships, practitioner-individual relationships and our professional relationships. For over 25 years we have researched, developed and implemented relationship-based programmes specifically for vulnerable families and young people in our society. We recognise that to achieve the best possible outcomes when working with vulnerable individuals we need to be able to quickly develop a trusting therapeutic relationship. Our trainings aim to provide practitioners with new insights and skills that can be used during every contact that can lead to the desired outcomes. Visit our website to find out more about our evidence-based programmes:

Mothers at Home Matter

Mothers at Home Matter is the voice for the many mothers who want to be at home to bring up their children yet who are so rarely represented in public debate or in policy circles. One freedom the average mother no longer has is to choose to be at home to care for her children. We aim to promote a better understanding of children’s developmental need for loving and consistent care. We campaign for an economic level playing field for parents who stay at home. We work to enhance the status and self esteem of mothers at home.

Oxford Parent Infant Project

OXPIP provides short-term intensive therapeutic support to parents and babies from conception to two. Parent-infant dyads may be offered 1:1 psychodynamic parent-infant therapy or group work. We use a range of interventions including watch, wait and wonder, VIG and baby watching. We began in 1998 and over the past year over 180 new families have accessed OXPIP’s services. OXPIP is a highly regarded provider of specialist parent-infant training. Our programme has a national and international profile, with attendees from all over the UK and abroad. OXPIP is commissioned through various bodies to deliver specialist training, consultancy and supervision for professional teams and individual practitioners, both locally and nationally:

Parents 1st UK

Led by experienced practitioners, Parents1st UK is an award-winning charity specialising in early prevention perinatal volunteering. Evidence is overwhelming that volunteering and peer support can make a unique and valuable contribution to the wellbeing of parents and babies and our mission is to enable perinatal volunteering to flourish across the UK. 

The Solihull Approach

The Solihull Approach (NHS based) is an evidence-based, theory-practice model for understanding the impact of powerful emotional experiences on adults, the baby, and their relationship. It supports effective and consistent approaches to perinatal and infant mental health across agencies by providing a shared framework. A 2-day Foundation training enables practitioners to support the development of sensitive, attuned parent-infant relationships within their day to day work. Advanced trainings on Trauma, Attachment, Brain Development, and Reflective Supervision. Evidence-based online courses for parents and parents-to-be, and for professionals. Multi-user licences are available. For more information: and Tel: 0121 296 4448

And The Parent-Infant Foundation

We are the only national charity proactively supporting the growth and quality of specialised parent-infant relationship teams across the UK. We have a unique role in bridging the gap between frontline delivery, local commissioning and national decision-making when it comes to parent-infant relationships for families with the most complex and persistent difficulties. We bring the infant mental health sector together with collaborative leadership, providing a much-needed national voice, and catalysing a united force to campaign for policy change. Tel: 0300 3658747 @ParentInfantFdn @first1001days

We are delighted to confirm that we will be hosting the second Parent-Infant Conference in June 2021. We will share more details soon.