On 19 February 2016 I attended the conference about promoting humane social work at Kings College London, which had been organised by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) in conjunction with the University of Bedfordshire and Making Research Count. For more details on this conference, see the BASW website
I am very grateful to Brid Featherstone for inviting me. It was both an interesting and inspiring day. Have a look on Twitter
using #cpchange2016 for tweets about the discussions and issues raised.
I hope we can continue the conversation further at the Second Child Protection Conference on 3 June 2016, organised by the Transparency Project
. We will be joined by many of those who spoke today - it is clear that top of the agenda must be to discuss how we can go about setting up an organisation for parent advocates; it works in Finland
and it works in NYC.
Why organise this conference?
Guy Sheenan, (the current Chair of BASW), Brid Featherstone (Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield) and Maggie Mellon (Vice Chair of BASW) opened the conference, explaining why they had organised it. Social workers needed to find their voice as difficult conversations needed to be had.
What kind of society do we want? Is social work about 'helping' or 'fixing'? What's going wrong, and what can we do about it? The paradox is that we pump enormous amounts of resources into a system that doesn't seem to be helping - in fact, can often be terrifying for families. There is too much focus on a complex system that 'investigates' more than it helps.
This was one of the most popular tweets of the day from the CPR Twitter:
The views of parents
Amanda Boorman of charity The Open Nest
spoke of her experiences with her adopted daughter, and how she made contact with her birth family to enable her daughter to make sense of her history. She showed a short film, 'Severance', which showed daughter and mother meeting after five years of separation; powerful, moving and very compelling watching for anyone tempted to think adoption is a panacea for all the problems of traumatised children.
We need to think more critically about what we are trying to achieve and how we do it.