Taking time, Creating space, Enabling change: The first Pause symposium

 

Bringing together voices and experience from across this varied sector, we were pleased to welcome delegates to our first-ever symposium in London to share best practice and learn from each other.

 

Delegates from across the UK were able to hear about the latest in impact measurement and latest research in recurrent removals, as well as share their thoughts as part of workshops on funding, working with other agencies, and working with kinship networks.

 

Catch up with some of the conference highlights below.

Pause founder, and chair of trustees, Sophie Humphreys, welcomed delegates to the symposium, which was held at the Royal College of General Practitioners in central London. She told delegates that we are all working together, striving for change, even though we may interact with women and families at different points in time. She likened it to a circle, with practitioners and organisations at different arcs of the circle, but nonetheless all part of the same continuum. She reminded delegates that it is not a case of either/or, when it comes to individual or organisational involvement: we all have a place in the cycle.

Dr Kirsten Asmussen of the Early Intervention Foundation addressed the issue of interventions for children. She told delegates that interventions that are intended for adults in their role as parents do not always look at the impact on the child. She talked about the Early Intervention Foundation’s work, including its assessment of various programmes and their impact.

Claire Mason of Lancaster University set out the latest research that she and Karen Broadhurst, leaders in this area, have recently published. She told delegates that, all too often, taking a child into care is seen as a ‘one-off’. Her latest research focussed on better understanding the hidden population of women and families who had had recurrent removals of children from their care. Adverse childhood experiences had a major role to play, with well over half – 54% – of women who had more than one child removed in recurrent care proceedings had themselves been in care, be that through formal court proceedings or informal family arrangements. Accessing better professional help and strong practitioners are key to changing lives, she told delegates.

Writer and journalist Tom Baldwin chaired what was billed as ‘the big debate’. The panel – Jake Hayman, social entrepreneur and founder of Ten Years’ Time; Florence Kroll, Director of Children’s Services at Royal Borough of Greenwich; Jonathan McShane, Chair of the Public Delivery Group at Public Health England and Cabinet member for Health, Social Care & Devolution; Amy Solder, Project Lead at Nesta; and Chris Naylor, Chief Executive of London Borough of Barking & Dagenham – talked a bout how to make the case for innovation at a time when budgets are increasingly being squeezed. Tom suggested to the panel that, at times like this, we need to be more, not less, radical in our thinking.

In addition to the plenary sessions, delegates attended a selection of workshops, including those exploring how best to work with other partners and agencies, working with kinship networks and how to access funding. Every session included lively debate and discussion, much of which continued over the breaks, allowing delegates to grow their own networks and extend the reach of the conference even further.