Working with Parents: Kitchen Table Talks -Sandwell YOS (2019)

Summary:  Sandwell YOS work in partnership with First Cass Legacy to run monthly meetings for parents whose children attend the YOS.
Age: n/a
Sex: n/a
Cost: yes




  • To create a supportive space for parents to share experiences and learn from each other
  • To reduce isolation in parents who have children open to the YOS
  • To create a bridge between parents and the YOS for better working relationships
  • To deliver awareness raising sessions to parents about key topics they felt they needed help with
  • To use as a forum for involving parents in decisions about YOS service delivery



Sandwell YOS had been struggling to know how to best engage with some parents, who were mistrustful of the YOS and felt forgotten, and judged. To aid in considering a way of engaging parents, the YOS spoke to a variety of parents who expressed a sense of isolation and described struggling with their child’s behaviour but not knowing what to do about this.

To support parents, Sandwell YOS partnered up with First Cass Legacy to run a ’ being set up for YOS parents. The concept behind the talks is a safe and relaxed space where parents are able to worth through the isolation and stress via shared experience with other parents who are going through the same things.

The parents that attend are supported to share their personal experience and learning with each other and ask for information from professionals around the Youth Justice System, if required.
Parents are encouraged to engage in group discussions around set topics, aimed at supporting them with their children and some of the more difficult and challenging elements of their behaviour. In addition, the talks have started to bridge the gap between the YOS and the parents so that they have felt included, listened to and heard. This has meant that Sandwell YOS has had the opportunity to consider and amend practice and the systems within the YOS to best suit the needs of the parents and their children. This has also meant that a feedback loop has been established between the YOS and parents and vice versa.

Through the kitchen table talks, Sandwell YOS and First Class Legacy have co-created with parents a video that can be shared and used with other parents concerning some of the signs to look for in children involved in criminal activity.


Implementing the practice:

  • The YOS delivers the kitchen table talk session for parents once per month, together with their partner First Class Legacy.
  • At present the funding for this project comes from the PCC.
  • Regarding referrals, practitioners discuss the forum with parents/carers of the children they are working with. Providing they consent to contact, First Class Legacy then follow up and give more information.
  • Sessions are based around what the parents want to talk about and what they are willing to share with each other. There is usually a loose structure supplied by either First Class Legacy or the YOS to stimulate discussion but the emphasis is on peer support and being led by those present.
  • YOS staff attend in small numbers to build relationships, and external agencies may sometimes use the forum to answer particular questions or talk to parents directly.
  • The meetings are held in community spaces, and in particular a dessert bar – the parents appreciate the relaxed nature of this and often feel it is a rare moment of something indulgent for them.



Contact Details:

YOT: Sandwell YOS
Name: Michael Botham
Partner Organisation: First Class Legacy
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