Blackburn with Darwen Council were one of the first local authorities to start using our course: ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ back in November 2019, having been involved with the initial stages of development.
They introduced ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ to first time parents who were already accessing other family support services. It has proved so beneficial to the families taking part that the council is now exploring ways to further integrate it into their work.
Hayley Donnelly, early help and support team leader for Blackburn with Darwen Council, recently spoke about the council’s use of the ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ programme at a livestream broadcast to over 400 practitioners who work with parents and families.
“We all know that arguing is a normal part of everyday life and relationships. But when it escalates and the conflict isn’t resolved, it can have a huge impact on children, young people and the family.
For practitioners working with families, I know that the time spent with parents is incredibly valuable. It’s not always easy to fit everything into a session and therefore time talking about relationship issues can get squeezed, especially since it’s a topic not everybody is comfortable talking about. We found that blending what we would usually do in face-to-face sessions addressing parental conflict with this digital resource helped to open up tricky conversations, empowering parents to recognise issues in their relationship and support them in developing the skills they need to deal with them.”
Family support workers in Blackburn with Darwen found that most parents responded well to the digital nature of ‘Me, You and Baby Too’, and could relate their personal experiences to those shown on videos in the resource. Some parents completed parts of the programme themselves, without the support of their family support worker, and went on to explore more of our support on Click (our relationship platform). This might suggest parents want to continue their journey of building skills to help strengthen their relationships themselves.
“Parents who have worked through the programme told us that it helped them to realise the impact of conflict on their child. That has to be a good thing. We also noticed that using this digital style of learning particularly suited young and teenage parents for which working from apps is second nature. Where parents have engaged with it, the result has been notable improvements in their relationship and the way their parent their baby.”
‘Me, You and Baby Too’ was originally designed to support new parents with the changes that occur in a relationship when a baby arrives. Research shows that the arrival of a baby - and all the changes that brings - often corresponds with satisfaction in a couple relationship being at its lowest. Evaluation of the programme so far has shown that when ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ is completed, couple relationship satisfaction is significantly improved.
However, practitioners using the programme are reporting that ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ can also be beneficial for parents who already have one child but may have issues in their relationship and difficulties adjusting to parenting two or more children. The flexibility of the programme, which allows for practitioners to guide parents though it all, or focus on selected sections, means it can be used as required to fit in with the needs of everybody involved.
The help provided by ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ – equipping parents with relational capability skills – has resulted in some parents requiring less ongoing support from local services. The council now plan to continue using ‘Me, You and Baby Too’ as part of their offer to new and expectant parents and is exploring ways of working with colleagues in the health sector to widen the reach of this valuable support.
Me, You and Baby Too – An evidence-based, digital behaviour change intervention.
If you are interested in learning more about this resource, please take a look at our guide for practitioners.
We’re happy to discuss our work and how it can be used and offer training to implement the resource locally if required. Please get in touch by emailing email@example.com