About this conference

This exciting online conference, held during Infant Mental Health Awareness week, will explore and celebrate the many people involved in raising children from conception to age five.  These parents and carers can be forgotten from professionals' minds and excluded from services, which ultimately impacts their parenting capacity, as well as the emotional wellbeing, mental health and development of their children.  

Most services and ways of working in the UK focus unconsciously on traditional, (hetero)normative and white British family structures.  This conference will highlight the impact that different family formations, background and identities have on parenting, caregiver-infant relationships and child development outcomes and how we can adapt to meet the needs of the range of families that we serve.  The conference aims to provide increased reflection and understanding about these families, as well as practical tools and skills that can be applied to our work with parents/carers and very young children, to support the mental health of both infants and their parents/carers. 


Keynote speeches focus on LGBTQ+ families and cross-cultural perspectives in raising children.  Participants will also have the choice of attending seminars that explore: fathers; parents with experience of fostering and adopting; or grandparents and wider family and friend involvement – and how their involvement impacts child-raising and child development. 

The day draws on the latest developments in research, parent-infant work and clinical intervention, as well as the lived experience of families. There will be significant consideration given to how to apply this knowledge to practice when working with different families, to make the day an experience that is both thought-provoking and enriching for professional development.

Parallel sessions

During the booking process, you will be asked to book on to one of the three parallel sessions taking place between 13:40 and 14:50 on the day of the event so please review the conference timetable (please see the right-hand panel for the programme and the section below on “speakers and their talks”) before booking, to help inform your decision.​


To book this full day conference, visit the 'Book now' link on the right-hand column. You can also book morning plenaries, parallel sessions and afternoon plenaries separately. To book these, please visit the links below:

- Fathering and the parent-infant-relationship

- Wider family involvement and influences in the parenting task

- Families formed when infants are looked after

Who is this online conference suitable for?

This conference is suitable for any mental health clinician or early years practitioner who is working with families with children aged 0 – 5.  This includes professionals working in women’s health, birth and parenting services, perinatal teams, infant mental health, parent-infant services, adoption and early years services and settings.

Aims of the conference
  • Increased awareness of diverse family formations, identities, cultures and experiences.
  • Enhanced knowledge of the latest research on parents and caregivers from a variety of backgrounds and identities and the impact of this on family relationships and child development.
  • Increased awareness of different interventions, tools and skills, and how these can be applied to working with families.
Speakers and their talks

Morning Plenaries

  • Professor Susan Golombok

Professor of Family Research and Director of the Centre for Family Research

University of Cambridge

"Love and truth: What really matters for children in new family forms"



  • AJ Silver

Author, Birth worker and Doula and Breastfeeding Counsellor

The Queer Birth Club

"Disparities in perinatal mental health outcomes for LGBTQ+ families"



  • Dr Fiona Tasker

Reader in Psychology

Birkbeck University

"Growing up With LGBTQ+ parents: Children and their parents map family diversity"



Fathering and the parent-infant-relationship

  • Dr Kim Alyousefi-van Dijk  

Trial Manager for the Circle of Security Intervention (COSI) study

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Anna Freud Centre

"VIPP-PRE: video-feedback for expectant fathers using live ultrasound images"



  • Professor Julie Poehlmann-Tynan

Child Clinical Psychologist

University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Dads in prison and their children"



  • Eloise Stevens; Alex Tsefos

Child Therapist and Clinical Researcher; Psychologist

Anna Freud Centre

“Mind the Dad: Supporting Fathers in the Perinatal Period”



Wider family involvement and influences in the parenting task

  • Vivienne Lewin

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

British Psychotherapy Foundation

"Twins: a unique relationship and its implications for parents and psychotherapy"



  • Associate Professor Megan Dolbin-MacNab

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science

Virginia Tech

"Children raised by grandparents: Family and contextual influences on grandchild wellbeing"



  • Anna France-Williams

Media and Communications Specialist and Author

The Life Village and WaterAid

"It Takes a Village: How We Created a Circle of Support around Our Children from Birth"



Families formed when infants are looked after

  • Dr Sarah Peter

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist

Anna Freud Centre

"The Good-Enough Group: The dynamics of digital space in an online psychoanalytic parent toddler group for adoptive families"



  • Professor Judith Harwin

Professor in Socio-Legal Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research

Lancaster University

“Special Guardianship and the Early Years: Opportunities and Challengers in Practice and Policy”



  • Sarah Fisher

Author and NVR Practitioner and Educator

Sarah Fisher Coaching/The Connective Parenting Hub


Afternoon Plenaries

  • Pauline Lee

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Pennine NHS Foundation Trust 



  • Professor Ed Tronick

Developmental Neuroscientist and Clinical Psychologist

University of Massachusetts Boston and Harvard Medical School


System requirements for conference

The online platform Zoom will be used to deliver this conference. Prior to booking on, please ensure you meet the system requirements so you're able to join this training.

Before the training, please test your equipment is working by going to and follow the instructions.

Details of how to join the event on Zoom will be shared closer to the event.

The self-directed learning is hosted on Blackboard. Please review if your browser supports this system prior to booking on.

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