Policy and Public Affairs Assistant

This post was originally posted at NSPCC.org.uk

The NSPCC exists to prevent cruelty to children. We are seeking to recruit an exceptional Policy and Public Affairs Assistant (Northern Ireland and Wales) to support the work of the Policy and Public Affairs team in delivering real change and reform in the best interests of children to ensure children in the UK can grow up free from abuse.

At a crucial time for children, the successful candidate will work across the Policy and Public Affairs teams in Wales and Northern Ireland and be responsible for undertaking policy work to achieve the NSPCC’s strategic goals and make a significant contribution to keeping children safe.

You’ll be a strong supporter of the NSPCC’s mission and values and be passionate about preventing abuse. You will have strong organisational, IT and administrative skills and an interest in the policy and political environments of the Welsh Senedd and/or NI Assembly. You will have experience in collecting, analysing and presenting data and findings clearly together with strong written skills with experience in making persuasive, credible arguments.

Join us and you’ll become part of a team that cares about the work they do and the people they work with. You’ll discover opportunities to grow, along with challenges and a shared purpose that’ll bring the best out in you. And you’ll get to find your own way to make a difference that means more, and that impacts millions of young lives.

The role is likely to be initially home based due to COVID but it will be based in either the Cardiff or Belfast office.

For more information about the role please contact Natalie.Whelehan@nspcc.org.uk or Cecile.Gwilym@NSPCC.org.uk

From Young People for Young People

These blogs, films, and advice materials were created by young people for young people. The content has been supported with help from CASCADE Voices – a group of young people associated with Voices from Care Cymru, Youth Fostering Ambassadors – a group of young people associated with The Fostering Network, Tribe – a group of young people involved in the Reaching Wider ‘Diamond Project’ at Swansea University, and other care-experienced young people.

Leicester Cares ran a social media campaign #CareDay20 #Reimagining asking for responses to the questions “I want a care system that…” and “I’m different because…” to highlight the issues care experienced young people face, but also the aspirations they have for the care system and their lives. These were the responses from young people:

Find out more about this social media campaign.

Postcard resources created by young people, in association with Voices From Care Cymru, as part of the CASCADE Voices research advisory group and with Tribe – a group of young people involved in the Reaching Wider ‘Diamond Project’ at Swansea University.

Postcards created by young people, in association with Voices From Care Cymru and CASCADE Voices.

Care Leaver Sophia

Watch videos by Care Leaver Sophia, an Oxford graduate who left care three years ago. She is passionate about educating people who are both in the system and outside the system on what being a foster carer is like. She started her YouTube Channel after discovering there was a lack of resources available related to care leavers. Sophia is currently working on her Master’s degree and will be posting a video every fortnight.

Learning Disability Conference

This event is hosted by Learning Disability Wales. View the original post.

Learning Disability Wales Annual Conference 2020

Date: 09.11.2020 – 20.11.2020
Location: Online

This year our Annual Conference will be on the theme of loneliness and isolation. This will form part of our national conversation for the year 2020/21.

The event will:

  • explore what loneliness and isolation are
  • highlight the problems and effects of loneliness and isolation
  • showcase what is being done to reduce loneliness and isolation in Wales.

We will celebrate good work as well raising awareness of the problems many people face.

Our Annual conferences are always a lively and inclusive where disabled and non-disabled people contribute and participate as equals. Visit our 2019 conference page to see what goes on.

Thing will be a bit different this year. We don’t know how safe it will be for us to meet up at large events in November so this year’s conference will be held online.

Understanding higher education experiences of care-experienced young people

Understanding the higher education experiences of care-experienced young people in Wales

It is widely known that care experienced young people in Wales and the UK more widely experience poorer outcomes in a wide range of factors than their peers who do not have experience of social care. These factors include health, poverty and early pregnancy, as well as education. As a result of educational research such as the Diamond Review, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are providing more support to care leavers in order to improve their access to university. However, despite a greater understanding of the barriers that this group face in continuing their education to university level, there has been little evidence of whether this support is effective.

This research project aims to understand university support and interventions in Wales that target care experienced young people – and assess the effectiveness of these support systems and interventions. These findings, along with data regarding numbers of care leavers attending Welsh universities, will be used to develop a model of best practice and practical guidance for care experienced young people and the people and organisations who support them in their education. Importantly, the research aims to understand and give voice to the experiences of care experienced young people who have been through the process of making decisions about their continued education, and we are looking for care experienced participants aged 14+ to take part and share their experiences with us.

If any young people you care for or work with might be interested in taking part, please get in touch. Participation can take the form of an interview or focus group, something more creative, or filling out an online questionnaire. All young people who take part in an interview or focus group, or make something creative, will receive an Amazon or Love2Shop voucher to say thank you for their time and input. For more details see the project information summary for young people and contact:

Hannah Bayfield
CASCADE, Cardiff University

Evaluation of the Implementation of the Pupil Development Grant for Looked After Children – Final Report

The Pupil Development Grant was introduced in 2012 to provide additional funding to schools to help mitigate disadvantages for pupils on free school meals and LAC. In 2015, it was decided to separate the funding provided for children eligible for free school meals (eFSM) and LAC through two separate grants. Allocations for the PDG for LAC were made to the four regional education consortia (RECs), rather than directly to schools, with the aim of facilitating a more strategic approach to using the funding across regions. The allocation amounts to a little under £4 million a year.
The grant is expected to support school improvement to reduce inequities facing LAC:

  • There are around 6,000 LAC with considerable variation in the numbers between LAs and schools. LAC’s prior experiences and their experience of being in care can have profound effects on their educational progress and attainment which impact on their vocational training and employment prospects.
  • While the trend over time shows LAC’s attendance and attainment (up to 2016) has generally improved, there is a large gap in attainment between LAC and other pupils at all stages of education, critically at Key Stage 4 which has a great effect on progression. This is found to varying degrees in all REC areas.

Allowances Report 2019-20 for Northern Ireland

Location: N. Ireland

Author: The Fostering Network

Year: 2019


All foster carers receive a weekly fostering allowance from their fostering service when they have a child in placement, which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This includes food, clothes, toiletries, travel and all other expenses incurred and varies depending on the age of the child. Some foster carers also get a fee for their time, skills and experience. This report focuses purely on the allowances given to the foster carer to cover the costs of looking after a fostered child.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland publishes minimum allowances (NMAs) for foster carers, with the expectation that all Health and Social Care Trusts meet these amounts. See Table 1 for the figures for this financial year compared with last year as well as the English rate. Even though the minimum fostering allowance levels have increased from last year, this was below inflation.

Care experienced children and young people

This week the National Assembly for Wales issued a report on care experienced children and young people.  This report is especially important as Wales now has double the amount of children in care as it did twenty years ago.  

The report takes into account lived experiences of those who have been in care and those who support them.  It also addresses financial concerns and transparency in services and funding in services that are necessary for care experienced young people.

Young people leaving care, practitioners and the pandemic: Experiences, support, and lessons

Young people leaving care, practitioners and the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic: Experiences, support, and lessons for the future

In 2020, the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic significantly disrupted daily life for citizens across the UK. The four nations of the UK sought to prioritise public health and the Coronavirus Act 2020 gave new powers to devolved Governments on areas including health, education and justice (Institute for Government 2020). The ensuing ‘lockdown’, announced by the Prime Minister on the 23rd March 2020 (Gov.uk 2020), was followed by similar directives in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (Institute for Government 2020).

Debates on the necessary responses to the pandemic, together with discussions about its impact, have frequently highlighted concerns for inequalities. For example, Golightly and Holloway (2020: 637) commented that ‘some [individuals] are much better placed than others to get through this’ while Blundell et al (2020 :292) argued that the pandemic ‘will not affect all in the same way … from health to jobs and to family life … the most vulnerable groups by socio-economic background and health status are also those that may be hit the hardest”.

Compounding these concerns, COVID-19 has impacted on the delivery of social services to both adults and children (Ferguson et al 2020). Issues have been raised about maintaining support for vulnerable groups during this time, as well as responding to increased demand for mental health, domestic violence and safeguarding services (Baginsky and Manthorpe 2020).

The pandemic has prompted a flurry of research activity seeking to understand responses to COVID-19, as well as the needs and experiences of individuals both receiving and delivering social care services during these unprecedented times (Baginsky and Manthorpe 2020; Bhatia 2020; Blake-Holmes 2020; Cook and Zschomler 2020; Dafuleya 2020; Ferguson et al 2020; Henrickson 2020; Iyer et al. 2020; Lingam and Sapkal 2020; O’Sullivan et al 2020; Rambaree and Nassen 2020; Sanfelici 2020; Sengupta and Jha 2020; The Fostering Network 2020; Walter-McCabe 2020). This research project predominantly focused on the Welsh context and aims to contribute to this emerging body of evidence, with a specific focus on the needs, support and experiences of young people leaving local authority care.