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New conference puts Leeds on the international stage for child welfare


Child protection experts from across the globe will be heading to Leeds next month to share their insights on child welfare and restorative practice.

Professionals who work with children and families are being invited to attend the three-day conference entitled ‘Re-imagining the child welfare system for the 21st century’ which is being hosted by Leeds City Council’s children’s services from 23 to 25 November. This conference, being held at the Hilton Leeds City hotel, will celebrate the power of working together, as well as showcasing cutting edge restorative practices from across the world.

The event will be a chance for anyone working in the child welfare system to learn about best practice in restorative working from across the world, bringing together the international learning community with speakers from New Zealand, Canada, USA and the UK.

There will be workshops, key note speakers, a Q and A session, and networking opportunities as well as entertainment, a drinks reception, and a conference dinner with author and poet Lemn Sissay as the after dinner speaker. Children and young people will also be included in the event providing entertainment and hosting group discussions for the delegates.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said:

“Leeds is a pioneer for restorative practice, which enables those who work with children and families to focus upon building relationships that create and inspire positive change. This conference will be a great opportunity to hear, not only about how we work with children and families here in Leeds and the successes we have achieved, but also from professionals from across the world.

“We want to share our insight about how to work restoratively and achieve positive results, and are thrilled that internationally respected child welfare experts will be joining us at this conference to share their own country’s practices and expertise.”

The conference comes as Leeds celebrates the successes of the Family Valued Innovations programme which came from an investment of £4.85m from the Department for Education’s Innovation Fund. The fund was established to support innovation in the children’s social care system. The programme in Leeds has worked to embed a family centred way of working across services and particularly in the relationship between the children’s social work service and the most vulnerable children and young people.

Over the three days the conference will tackle themes of:

  • Re-imagining the child welfare system for the 21st century
  • Working restoratively with families affected by domestic abuse
  • Working restoratively with families using family group decision making

Delegates will be able to hear from keynote speakers from across the UK and the world including:

  • Anne Longfield OBE – Children’s Commissioner England
  • Dr Moana Eruera, Pou Taki Māori (Principal Advisor Māori) Office of the Chief Social Worker, New Zealand
  • Prof Gale Burford, Emeritus professor of Social Work, Vermont State University, USA
  • Sharon Inglis – Director, Circles Training and Consultancy
  • Prof Jennifer Llewellyn, Professor of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
  • Cathy Ashley – Chief Executive, Family Rights Group
  • Nigel Richardson – former director of children’s services at Leeds City Council
  • Sal Tariq – chief officer children’s social care at Leeds City Council

To find out more and book tickets visit @Child_Leeds