Out-of-home care experienced children’s educational careers – What can be learnt from studies of their educational pathways?

It is well known that children with out-of-home care (OHC) experience perform poorly within school and in the educational system. However, we know less about their educational careers over time, and how their educational pathways compare to their same-aged peers.

Based on a 50-year follow up of around 12 000 children born in Stockholm, out of which nearly 8% had been placed in OHC care at some point before their 13th birthday, this presentation describes a series of studies of OHC experienced children’s educational careers over the life course.

In particular, it focuses on what implications the results from these studies may have for the educational and child welfare system responsible for the educational needs of OHC children of today.

Date: 24th February

Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm

Presented by

Dr Hilma Forsman, Department of Social Work, Stockholm University

Social workers in hospitals

Local authorities in Wales often locate teams of social workers in hospitals to carry out discharge planning for older people who will require ongoing care and support in order to leave hospital. This webinar presents findings from an ethnographic study of one such team. It will set out how the bureaucratic nature of the routine tasks the hospital social workers perform, the pressure from hospital management and local authority senior managers to expedite patient discharges with speed, and the demands of maintaining a working space alongside the hierarchy of hospital professionals create a uniquely challenging environment for social work practice.

Despite these challenges, during the fieldwork it was possible to see the key social work values of human rights, social justice and empowerment enacted through the social workers’ practices, though with some limitations. The webinar will conclude with an argument that the skills and commitment of hospital social workers could be harnessed in an expanded role to help reduce readmissions and support people with long-term health conditions to adjust to their circumstances and develop health-protective ways of living.

Presentation by: Dr Dan Burrows, Cardiff University

Ethnic, socioeconomic, and intersectional inequalities in child welfare intervention rates

There has been a growing awareness of ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities in child protection, specifically in the UK but also internationally.

However, there is often an assumption that the two inequalities are either equivalent, requiring only one practice and policy response, or totally disparate, requiring unconnected policy and practice responses. This webinar will present the findings from a recent intersectional analysis of neighbourhood intervention rates in England, which shows that different ethnic populations have very different deprivation-related gradients in intervention. 

Presented by:

Dr Calum Webb
Research Associate
Department of Sociological Studies
University of Sheffield

Developing Evidence-Enriched Practice (DEEP)

Whilst there is often a lot of interest in evidence-based practice in social care and health, making it a reality remains challenging for a variety of reasons.

This ExChange event will outline a participatory, caring and democratic approach to using evidence in learning and development that involves social workers, social care practitioners, managers, service users and carers working collectively to explore and make the world a better place.

The DEEP approach has five key elements: 

  • the creation of supportive and relationship-centred research and practice environments; 
  • the valuing of diverse types of evidence; 
  • the use of engaging narratives to capture and share evidence; 
  • the use of dialogue-based approaches to learning and development;
  • and the recognition and resolution of systemic barriers to development. 

Drawing on existing knowledge and understanding from diverse disciplines, the DEEP approach aims to address all five elements together, with a particular focus on the use of multiple forms of story, which engage heart and mind.

The event will cover the theoretical and practical aspects of the DEEP approach illustrated by examples of associated learning and development work in Wales. It will also introduce the DEEP 2020-23 programme including proposed training opportunities in applying the DEEP approach.

For further reading about the subject our guest speaker wrote a blog about the topic.

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Webinar: Use of secure accommodation for welfare purposes in Wales

Date: Wednesday 9th September at 11.30am

Earlier this year due to lockdown, we were unable to run our workshop on the Use of secure accommodation for welfare purposes in Wales. ExChange Wales will now be running a free webinar in its place. We’ll be recording this webinar and it will be made available shortly after the live event. If you’re unable to join us on the day please visit the Cascade channel to view the webinar following the event.


Secure accommodations are residential homes with approval to restrict the liberty of young people aged 10 -17 years of age who are a serious risk to themselves or to others. While young people often enter secure (or alternative) accommodation via the criminal justice system, many are placed by social services for welfare reasons and there is little sign of this practice diminishing. This troubling situation is further complicated by a scarcity of secure placements in Wales which sees many young people being placed outside of Wales or having no bed in secure care due to a lack of availability.

At present there is little research evidence of what had led to this or what can be done to improve matters. To give better insight a recent project commissioned by Social Care Wales and conducted by CASCADE at Cardiff University explored the experiences of young people from Wales prior to, during and following a referral to secure accommodation. Many findings caused deep concern and led to a series of recommendations.

The workshop will give an opportunity for practitioners and managers to hear about the study and its findings, and use these as a platform for collaborative discussion of

  • The study recommendations
  • The extent to which the recommendations map onto practice experience and whether they would profit from amendment
  • Barriers envisaged when implementing the recommendations
  • How such barriers could be overcome

Presented by:
CASCADE: Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, Cardiff University

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From identification to support: Assessing and improving services for young carers

Date: April 30, 2020
Please note: this event has been postponed

Family carers are sometimes described as an ‘invisible army’ – a large group of citizens who bear a significant proportion of the national social care strategy. Child carers, commonly known as ‘young carers’, are an under-recognised and particularly vulnerable group within this ‘army’. Current policy and practice on recognising and supporting young carers is variable across Welsh Local Authorities, and the level or nature of intervention activity bears further examination nationally. This group has significant, diverse needs and disparate experiences of personal disruption depending on their circumstances and level of care required for their family members. Education and health could offer substantial support to these children and young people but research shows that they currently struggle to effectively identify and support them, in part due to a lack of clear guidance and strategic planning, and most young carers report difficulties in being recognised for the valuable work that they do. This workshop focuses on sharing knowledge from recent Cardiff University research and policy insight and strategy from national charity Carer’s Trust Wales. We facilitate practitioner-led discussion on common and differing experiences in trying to best support young carers, and co-develop approaches and recommendations to improve Welsh provision. No child or young person should be disadvantaged in their lives by being a young carer. This workshop offers the opportunity to add your experience and expertise to the national conversation around how we can best see, listen to, and support them better.

Presented by:
Faaiza Bashir (Carer’s Trust Wales), Edward Janes (Cardiff University), Jen Lyttleton-Smith (Cardiff University)

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