Attendees at the Voice of the Infant event

Event prioritises the voices of our young children


This month we held our ‘Voice of the Infant’ Development Day event, which focused on listening to and prioritising the needs and rights of young children in East Ayrshire.

The event, which took place in Auchinleck’s Boswell Centre, was well attended by child care and social work practitioners as well as staff specialising in early education, health visiting and children’s mental health.

Sina Currie, Senior Nurse Manager for Children’s Services, opened the day’s proceedings by highlighting the key principles of our GIRFEC model (Getting It Right For Every Child) and our commitment to the wellbeing of infants and young children as outlined in The Promise.

Sina emphasised the duty of all practitioners to take the needs and rights of infants and young children into account at all times:

“Infants’ experiences, needs and rights must inform care planning, decision making and service delivery. We must ensure we’re making decisions based on the needs of our babies and young children.”

Attendees were then joined via video link by Laura Lundy, Co-Director of the Centre of Children’s Rights and founder of the Lundy Model of Infant Participation. Laura discussed key aspects of the model and explained the nuances in the way young children may choose to communicate their needs:

You have to actively create relationally safe spaces for children to come to you with their views. We must also give children choice in their mode of expression, as often when children say nothing, they’re saying everything.”

We then heard from Julie Drummond and Leah Cronin from the NHS Ayrshire and Arran Infant Mental Health Team, who discussed the impact of early relationships on a child’s sense of self, and the importance of keeping a child informed during periods of uncertainty and change:

“Infants develop expectations of themselves, the world and others through their relationship experiences. [Those] who experience difficult early relationships are more likely to develop beliefs which impact their voice.”

– Julie Drummond, NHS Ayrshire and Arran Infant Mental Health Team

“Children need a narrative when things change and need to fill gaps in their stories. Without an age-appropriate narrative from a safe adult, what we’re left with is a child who thinks ‘It’s all my fault’.”

 – Leah Cronin, NHS Ayrshire and Arran Infant Mental Health Team

This concluded the first half of the event, which made way for an interactive segment and workshop sessions.

Many thanks to all who attended and to all speakers and partnership staff who worked hard to make the event possible.

Find out more about ‘Voice of the Infant’ on the Scottish Government website.