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Thanks for the question. Dave saw himself in the ‘grey area’ in a position of relative neutrality when compared to the contested positions that he saw parents and agencies taking. His role was to build a bridge to enable parents and caseworkers to form relationships. Dave didn’t see himself as a holder of the truth or resolution. He also didn’t see himself as any form of heroic figure or a rescuer. His role was to help parents navigate the system while they also processed their grief and loss by coaching, translating, advocating. Being neutral didn’t mean that Dave didn’t have opinions and that he didn’t encourage parents or remind them of their obligations or of serious concerns. But he wanted them to experience their own success and to take responsibility for the changes they could make. It also helped him to maintain good relationships with parents over time – he was not there to judge. He did take a strong encouraging role and advocated for families. Dave relied heavily on his shared lived experience to build relationships and provide advice. There is a link to a video of Dave talking about his role here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boAa0LuEUvw
Jessica Cocks