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In conversation with… Richard Devine and Leigh Zywek, Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES)

Innovative approaches for providing families with therapeutic support

Join us as we talk to Richard Devine and Leigh Zywek from Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) about the therapeutic support the local authority offers vulnerable families, and how its innovative, inspiring approach is helping parents to safely look after their children and more families to stay together.

Richard Devine, Consultant Social Worker, and Leigh Zywek, Assistant Director of Children and Young People Services, have been instrumental in shaping how and at what point BANES provides support to families – including offering parents access to psychological treatments during pre-proceedings.

During this conversation, Richard and Leigh will discuss the positive impact that trauma-informed approaches and therapy can have on parents who are at risk of being separated from their children, and will share their learnings about the role of long-term support. They will also talk about the benefits of other innovative practices, such as the use of Crittenden’s Dynamic Maturational Model (DMM) of Attachment and Adaptation and Family Group Conferences (FGCs).

Richard Devine has over 13 years’ experience working with children and families in a child protection context and is currently a visiting researcher at Cambridge University. He has a Masters in Attachment Studies from Roehampton University, London, and is trained in several attachment procedures. Leigh Zywek has 23 years’ experience in children’s services, predominantly working with children in need of help and protection. She is passionate about co-production and parental advocacy.

To read Richard’s blog, visit:

To visit the Voices for Change work mentioned by Richard, visit:

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory aims to find and fill knowledge gaps, highlight areas where change will have the biggest impact and foster collaboration to make that change happen. Find out more here.

 This ‘In conversation with…’ series will bring you leading thinkers, experts, practitioners and those with lived experience for frank discussions on a variety of themes related to children and families in the family court system.


Watch the discussion


  • Headshot of Lisa Harker.
    Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
  • Headshot of Richard Devine
    Richard Devine
    Consultant Social Worker
    Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES)
  • Headshot of Leigh Zywek
    Leigh Zywek
    Assistant Director of Children and Young People Services
    Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES)