Building the Capabilities of Adults in Children’s Lives

A new role is always exciting. A new role in an organisation celebrating its 25th anniversary is even more so and when I joined Family Links the Centre for Emotional Health, it was in the run-up to the 25th anniversary national conference, ‘Building the Capabilities of Adults in Children’s Lives’, which was held at the magnificent Wellcome Collection, near Euston in London.

The title of our conference, ‘Building the Capabilities of Adults in Children’s Lives,’ resonated so much with me and with my experience of the Nurturing Programme. I first encountered the programme as a school governor in the early 2000s when I attended full school training and also Parent Group Leader training. Like so many who encounter the Nurturing Programme, I found it to be transformational – both for me individually and for the parents and carers who attended subsequent groups that I and my co-leader ran.

When I started my training, my two children were 3yrs and 6yrs old and it completely changed the way I was as a parent with them. I went on to set up a company with two other leaders that facilitated groups for parents and carers. These groups included those with children who had found themselves in trouble with the police, weekend groups based around adventure activities and evening groups based around music or cookery. I then went on to work as a primary school teacher and headteacher and although I didn’t work in a school which used Family Links material explicitly, the Nurturing Programme had become such a part of who I was, in my DNA so to speak, that I found myself using the techniques naturally with the children and the adults in the school community. When I went to work in the faith sector for a while, the four constructs of the programme – Self-Awareness, Appropriate Expectations, Empathy and Positive Discipline - remained the foundation of how I functioned as a person and who I was.

I hope that this insight into my own experience of using the Nurturing Programme as an adult in the lives of children is helpful in demonstrating its importance, usefulness, and universality. My capability as an adult in the lives of my own children and the lives of the children in my schools was strengthened by me taking part in the Nurturing Programme training. My capability to share that with other adults in groups, at home and in the workplace built their capability to be adults in the lives of their children and those around them.

There is a ripple effect, a powerful wave that can transform both adults and children’s lives for good. If you are one of Family Links’ many trainers, Parent Group Leaders, supporters, or colleagues then I invite you to take a moment to reflect on how your capability has impacted children, young people, and adults in your life. Thank you for playing your part in the ripple effect and I look forward to working alongside you as we go on building adults’ capabilities together.

If you were unable to join us at our conference, you may wish to watch the short video clips of the incredibly impressive and inspirational speakers which we will be making available on our website in the coming weeks. Do get in touch also if you would like to explore how we might build your capabilities through our training by contacting us via

Peter Leonard, Chief Executive