formerly Chatter Matters

Connecting through language, literacy and love.

Just Time

“To tell you the truth, it was better than I thought it was gonna be… I thought you was just gonna tell us ‘do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that’, like all the other @! *# parenting programs I’ve done. But ya didn’t . It was good.

Just Time is a parenting program being delivered in Tasmanian Prisons. It uses the well-respected and well-researched Circle of Security Parent DVD Program® as its central tool – and is delivered by speech pathologists.

Just Time was externally evaluated in 2019 by the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania. We’re excited to share the evaluation report with you – find it here.

Just Time is an eight-week program of attachment, relationship and wellbeing. Three main stakeholder groups participate in Just Time – the prisoners, who are the recipients of the program, the prison personnel who support and enable it, and the facilitators.

Just Time is unabashedly about love: fortifying, undergirding, strengthening-of-all-things love. And specifically, how the bonds of love and positive emotion form the basis of secure attachment between parent and child. How they gift that child’s life with mental wellbeing, relationship which grows language and supports positive social communication.

And from there, on into literacy.

And then beyond into further education, employment and pro-social enjoyment of life.

And further yet, into citizenship and wisdom.

The Circle of Security teaches the processes of parent-child attachment using a simple graphic, powerful metaphors and reflective dialogue within a small facilitated group.

You can read a report containing many verbatim quotes from the participating mums in the first Just Time project of 2014, right here. It is stuff of authenticity and vulnerability. The mums are all to be honoured and greatly commended. Here are some of their words about their parenting, their parents, and the program:

  • “I’ll cuddle him, like, when I want to – but I didn’t realise that he wants it too.”
  • “My dad never did that with me. He never cuddled me – just said ‘get out of here, stupid kid’.”
  • “I only really interacted with my babies when I wanted to; I didn’t pick up from them that they were also giving me signals.”
  • “I never blamed my kids for anything – I blamed myself. If they fell over, it was because I wasn’t watching them enough.”
  • “I’ve just learned how, like, it’s never too late and that. And ya gotta listen for your ‘shark music’ otherwise ya just end up doin to ya kid the same crap what was done to you.”
  • “This is the first certificate I’ve ever got.”

One of the facilitators, speech pathologist Sarah Kay, said this about the efficacy of the program: “Circle of Security works. It’s a simple and effective program with benefits for all families within our society. Unequivocally and unquestionably do not withhold this from at-risk parents.”

She’s right.

Simple. Effective. And it works.

With benefits for all families. Theirs, yours and ours.

A Note:

In 2019, generous private funding also extended Just Time to include a pilot project –Mini Just Moving On. This gave ongoing connection and support – ‘throughcare’ – to one of the original Just Time participants when she was living back in community after being released from prison. This throughcare pilot is focusing on connecting with this mum about her skills of attachment, language, literacy and child-centred play. It is providing Connect42 with an opportunity to understand more about how to measure this work. This will help guide a more formal study of the communication supports that will be valuable to parents when they are back in community and have access to their children once more.

Just Time began in 2014 as a pro bono project, but it was soon spotted and funded by private benefactors. Now it is funded by the Tasmanian Government. In October 2018 the Government funding expanded it into three prison areas, in back-to-back cycles of the eight-week program. This funding will continue until October 2020.

We are grateful to the Tasmanian Government. And we are ever grateful to our private benefactors: The Dickinson Family Trust, The Chrysanthemum Foundation, The Jetty Foundation, The Myer Foundation, The Beam Foundation and the growing number of private donors. They have enabled this important work of social equity, humanity and empowering connection.

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