This conference has been set up by members of the Transparency Project http://transparencyproject.org.uk/ of which I am a tiny part (a cog who is not pulling his weight at the moment)
You may know Lucy Reed from Pink Tape http://www.pinktape.co.uk , or Sarah Philimore from Child Protection Resource http://www.childprotectionresource.org.uk/ who are the driving force behind this conference. They are the Mary Berry / Paul Hollywood combo – not necessarily in that order. Many of you may also know Jerry Lonsdale, who is like the James Bond of the MacKenzie Friend world. And there are many other cool people involved – I’m particularly looking forward to hearing from Sir Mark Hedley and Kristy Seddon (who is a remarkably impressive care leaver)
So this conference is open to anyone – lawyers, Judges, journalists, social workers, guardians, experts and most importantly real people.
It is going to be like the Glastonbury of family justice. As such, for the small bit I am doing, I will be writing in a blue counsel’s notebook with it behind my back, then with my pen in my teeth and finally setting fire to the notebook.
Policing Parents? Protecting Children? Promoting Adoption?
Do we get the child protection system we deserve
The Transparency Project is pleased to announce a multi-discliplinary conference, on 1st June 2015, which will discuss the different views and perspectives from experts, lawyers, social workers, parents and care leavers in an attempt to re-position the current unhealthily polarised debate around the child protection system.
We will be joined by Dr Lauren Devine of UWE who is currently undertaking research into the evidence base for our current system and by Brigid Featherstone, co-author of ‘Re Imagining Child Protection’.
The conference will take place at the NCVO facilities, near Kings Cross in London
Register for tickets – until Feb 28th 2015.
To register for tickets, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please let us know which afternoon workshop you would like to attend and if you want a vegetarian meal option.
We want to keep costs low but need to charge to cover costs of venue hire and catering. Lunch and refreshments will be available on the day.
Professionals 5 + years PQE £100/Professionals 0-5 years PQE £50 – discount of 20% if 3 or more members of the same organisation book together.
We will be seeking accreditation for CPD points for both the Bar and solicitors.
Topics for afternoon discussion
Suggestions are coming in for the issues most likely to require debate/discussion. Please feel free to contact us to add more.
- Section 20 agreements – the drift and delay problems. Are there adequate mechanisms in place for review of these? What’s the IRO doing?
- The anti-authority parent – does disagreeing with or failing to co-operate with a social worker equate to being a ‘bad parent’? What can be done to improve relationships between parents and social workers? These issues are highlighted in the recent Hertfordshire case and discussions over at suesspicious minds.
- Risk of future emotional harm – Re B  is this an acceptable basis for removing children for adoption?
- Perception of experts as independent – what should happen if experts in a case are on a ‘paid retainer’ with a LA? also an issue raised in the Hertfordshire case above.
- Problems with ‘working together’ – example of recent disjunction between family and housing law discussed by Nearly Legal. How do we make sure family courts have the best information about issues they may not be familiar with nor fully understand?
- Opening up the family courts – the impact on children. Is it likely to be a serious as some fear? What lessons can we learn from other jurisdictions?
- Impact on care proceedings of the rise of litigants in person – what can be done to improve position for people who won’t get legal aid? see discussions by John Bolch on Marilyn Stowe’s blog.
- Funding for therapeutic intervention- what options should or could be available for parents who are advised they need lengthy therapy/counselling?
- How is the UK system viewed in Europe? – note the recent report ‘Social services in Europe: legislation and practice of the removal of children from their families in Council of Europe member States’, in particular para 74 which criticises the refusal of the UK system to reverse adoption orders as a ‘misunderstanding’ of what is in the best interests of a child.
|9.45 -10.00||Introduction and welcome||Sir Mark Hedley|
|10.00-10.30||Evaluation of the Evidence Base for current practice||Dr Lauren Devine UWE|
|10.30-11.00||Re-Imagining Child Protection||Brigid Featherstone|
|11.30-12.00||Expert reports and assessments; new directions for 2015.||Lisa Wolfe and colleagues|
|12.00-12.30||Care leavers’ perspectives||Kirsty Seddon|
|12.30-1.15||Parents’ perspectives on the system||Introduction by Jerry Londsdale .|
|1.15-2.00||Lunch||Invitations to complete a ‘next steps’ questionnaire online.|
|2.00 – 3.15||Parallel discussion groups/workshops||See below|
|2.45-3.15||refreshments and informal discussions||Post-it note ‘instant’ feedback wall|
|3.15-4.15||Top table panel lead Q&A discussion||Top table of morning’s plenary speakers|
|4.15 – 4.30||Closing summary, distil the day and key outcomes – call to action?||Sarah Phillimore|
|PM parallel discussion groups/workshops from 2pm to 3.15pm