The third Child Protection conference supported by The Transparency Project will take place on Saturday 15th September 2018 at the Conway Hall in London.

In 2015 the question asked was if the Child Protection system fit for purpose?

Having concluded that sadly the answer was ‘no’ CPConf2018 hopes to continue the success of discussions from some very different perspectives on the system, including social workers, lawyers, and parents, adopters, special guardians, kinship carers – who don’t often – or at all – get the opportunity for open discussion on a level playing field. Anyone with an interest in child protection (which hopefully is most people) is welcome to attend.

The issue up for deliberation is ‘future risk of emotional harm’ – how is this a reason to justify removing children from their parents? What are the historical explanations for this, how is it working in practice and how is it defined and perceived by those working in the system, and those subject to it?

The conference will start at 11am and will hear short presentations from Professor Lauren Devine of the University of the West of England, journalist Louise Tickle, parent ‘Annie’ who blogs at ‘Surviving Safeguarding’, social worker Simon Howarth and lawyers Lucy Reed and Sarah Phillimore of The Transparency Project.

After lunch the plan is to have wider discussions between the audience and panel, which will include Emeritus Professor Andy Bilson who will present the findings of some of his recent research. SG&AT will be presenting the results of the recent ‘Connections’ Survey, which looked at emotional harm from the perspective of adopters, special guardians and kinship carers.

The aim of the conference is not only to promote discussion about the notion of ‘emotional  harm’ and how it is relied upon in care proceedings, but also to produce a Transparency Project Guidance Note about the production and content of risk assessments in care proceedings.

Tickets are £30 plus the Eventbrite fee. For more details and how to buy tickets please visit the EventBrite site.

If you can’t join on the day, please follow the discussions via social media hashtagCPConf2018

More about the Connections Survey

When we began thinking about emotional harm as a group, our members wanted us also to consider the emotional harm that is done by removing a child from their birth parents by ‘the system’, and corporate parent. A rescued child may be separated from brothers and sisters, miss their birth parents – and not properly understand why they cannot live together with them. Birth parents suffer immense loss and grief, as does anyone who loses a child to care – adopters and special guardians alike – we love our children just the same, and losing them to care is heartbreaking for us too. Our children can, because of their past, be extremely vulnerable, and we live in an age where social media can bring about connections very easily. When our children must go back into care after we have been looking after them (perhaps if support has not been timely, sufficient or forthcoming and for example,we can’t, as is the case in the current system, access respite except through Section 20), there are no models for reunification with us. Instead of help we may find we are viewed through ‘a prism of risk’ by those with a duty of care. In one sense, when a child is removed or ‘rescued’, we can all become ‘safeguarding survivors’ – in a system that is, from our perspective, not as holistic and family centred as it sometimes needs to be. This is why the survey is called the ‘Connections’ survey – we are all connected through the system, which sees the same legislation and thresholds applied to all children and families since 1989. So we wanted to conduct a survey that began to consider the emotional harm created by the system as a whole. We hope our findings will be of interest to conference delegates and stimulate discussion and thought.

As we are promoting the conference, SG&AT members can attend at a discounted rate – so its well worth joining now if you are an adopter or special guardian – and not already a member.

Please click HERE to complete a membership form in order to join.