Transitions from care to adulthood: Persistent issues across time and place

External event

When: 8 March 2021, 17:00 – 18:00

The seminar has three aims. First, setting the historical context for leaving care policy and practice in six high and middle-income countries over the last 150 years. Second, identifying ‘common concerns’, including poor outcomes; abuse within care; and systemic injustices. Third, the seminar will introduce ‘enduring issues’: conflicting perspectives around the purpose of care; concerns about encouraging welfare dependency and abuse, powerlessness and lack of agency. The seminar will conclude with reflections on progress (or lack of it) over time and across cultures.

External event

Childhood Studies Jamboree

External event

Our annual Childhood Studies Jamboree will be on Monday 8th March 2021. Come enjoy an informative and fun afternoon. Back live … and online! Please do come along yourself and share the news with others who may be interested.

When: Mon 8 March 1.00-3.30 pm

You will have the opportunity to network with other people interested in research with children and young people and to attend interactive workshops where people share their research methods and recent experiences, dilemmas and challenges. 

The event is particularly for:

  • those interested in joining our research community (e.g. the MSc Education Early Childhood Practice and Froebel Pathway) and PhD routes
  • current MSc, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers interested in direct research with children and young people
  • all others with an interest and commitment to direct research with children and young people, across the University of Edinburgh and outwith!

For more details/information, please contact the Childhood and Youth Studies Research Group, MHSES through: Karina Padilla.

External event

Residential Child Care Conference 2021

External event

We are delighted to invite you to Social Care Wales’s 2021 residential children’s care conference. We welcome practitioners and leaders from across the sector to join us for this event.

The 2021 Residential Children’s Care Conference #ResCYP21 will take the opportunity to reflect and celebrate the resilience and learning of the sector throughout 2020 and the challenges presented by Covid-19. Our guest speakers will look to the future, to consider key approaches in nurturing and improving outcomes for children and young people living in residential care.

We welcome the following speakers to the event:

A message of support to the sector

Deputy Minister Julie Morgan MS

‘My 2020’ – A reflection from the front line

Hearing from a young person, social worker and residential care worker. We will get their view from the frontline.

Future Proof – what matters to young people transitioning from care

Young people who have transitioned from care will share their experiences and tell us about what mattered to them in positively transitioning from life in care.

Love in the Care System

Rosie Moore, Previous LOVE co-chair at the Scottish Independent Care Review/ Independent Consultant for Love and Looked After Children

An opportunity to hear learning from Scotland on the importance of ‘love in the care system’.

County Lines and Covid-19

Evan Jones, Head of CCE Development, St Giles Trust

St Giles Trust will present their work in Wales, supporting young people who are exploited by county lines and how approaches have changed in light of the pandemic.

Once your place is confirmed, you will receive a link to access the Digilounge platform on which the conference will be held. Please set up your Digilounge registration before the day of the event. Full joining instructions will be sent to all attendees.

This event is being hosted externally by Social Care Wales and not through Exchange Wales. Social Care Wales work with people who use care and support services, and organisations to lead improvement in social care. Learn more about Social Care Wales. This post was originally posted by Social Care Wales.

External event

Trawsnewid project for LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25

External event

Online session: 24th February at 6pm

Join Cerian, a youth engagement facilitator for Amgueddfa Cymru- National Museum Wales, for a new project called Trawsnewid focusing on LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 on the theme of transformations. Throughout this project we will be exploring trans and gender non-conforming figures in Welsh history and lived experiences today. 

In this initial session, we will be introducing the project, getting to know each other and designing our own postcard inspired by the museum’s LGBT+ Collection. This is an exciting opportunity for young LGBT+ people to socialise, learn about queer Welsh history, and to create work that will be exhibited.

There will be further events in a bi-weekly format of meetings and workshops with young people, and these sessions will be creative workshops exploring the theme of the project. Guest speakers will join sessions alongside the facilitator, and there will be an opportunity for the participants to also run their own sessions.

Throughout the project we will be working towards putting on our own events such as a museum takeover at the Waterfront Museum in Swansea and an exhibition of the work created throughout the project. The project will be tailored to the interests of the group, whether that’s history, art, creative writing, performance, and so on. 

If you would like to get involved in the project, attend the event, find out any more information about the project, or know of any young people who would be interested please email Cerian

Please note that anyone is able to join the project, even after the initial workshop on the 24th, simply email Cerian for further information.

External event

‘Society is the Disability’: What does this mean for your business?

External event

‘Society is the Disability’: What does this mean for your business?

Date: Thursday, 18th March 2021
Time: 10:30am – 12pm

Guest speakers:
Dr Hade Turkmen, Chwarae Teg
Dr Stephen Beyer, Cardiff University and National Centre for Mental Health
Miranda Evans, Disability Wales

Join us for the upcoming Hive webinar, where we’ll be bringing employers across Wales together to discuss our recent ‘Society is the Disability’ report which looks at disabled women’s experiences in the Welsh economy. We’ll be sharing the findings of the report and the opportunities businesses can implement for improvement.

We’ll also be looking at the business benefits of employing a person with a learning disability, how the model used by the ‘Engage to Change’ programme can support both employers and workers with a learning disability together with the outcomes from the project so far in Wales.

There will be an opportunity for you to participate in this webinar and ask questions.

External event

Trawsnewid: A new LGBTQ+ youth project (16-25)

About the project:

Join Cerian, a youth engagement facilitator for Amgueddfa Cymru- National Museum Wales, for a new project called Trawsnewid focusing on LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 on the theme of transformations. Throughout this project we will be exploring trans and gender non-conforming figures in Welsh history and lived experiences today. This is an exciting opportunity for young LGBT+ people to socialise, learn about queer Welsh history, and to create work that will be exhibited.

There will be further events in a bi-weekly format of meetings and workshops with young people, and these sessions will be creative workshops exploring the theme of the project. Guest speakers will join sessions alongside the facilitator, and there will be an opportunity for the participants to also run their own sessions.

Pride young person

Throughout the project we will be working towards putting on our own events such as a museum takeover at the Waterfront Museum in Swansea and an exhibition of the work created throughout the project. The project will be tailored to the interests of the group, whether that’s history, art, creative writing, performance, and so on. 

The project will begin with an online session on the 24th February at 6pm, where we will be introducing the project, getting to know each other, and designing our own postcard inspired by the museum’s LGBT+ Collection. Visit the Family and Community events section to find out more about the February 24th activity.

If you would like to get involved in the project, find out any more information about the project or know of any young people who would be interested please email Cerian. Please note that anyone is able to join the project, even after the initial workshop on the 24th, simply email Cerian for further information.

The Digital Divide: Why we need to support young people now

External event

BBB Youth Welfare Series

Tuesday 2 March 2021, 12:30- 1:30pm (online)

In the Sixth webinar of our #BBBYouthWelfare series, we will be discussing the Digital Divide – the gap between those who have access to technology, and those that don’t, or have restricted access. Being without adequate Wifi, hardware and software is having a detrimental effect on young people in education or hoping to start their careers during the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar discusses the immediate effects on young people in our communities, its potential effects over time and examples of initiatives to tackle the problem as we seek #BuildBackBetter and leave No One Behind as we transition out of lockdown.

The session will be chaired by Kieran Breen, CEO of Leicestershire Cares, and guest speakers will be:

  • Professor Richard Hall, Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University.
  • Professor Malcolm Fisk, Professor of Ageing and Digital Health, School of Computer Science and Informatics
  • Peter Paduh, Chairman of SocialBox.Biz – A new generation Social Impact consultancy – with emphasis on digital inclusion, tech innovation and integration of refugees and homeless people
  • Amina Lunat, Amina Lunat, Project Coordinator, Reaching People – distributing digital equipment to those in need in Leicestershire
External event

Pathways to University: the Journey through Care

Care-experienced people represent only a tiny proportion of the student population in the UK, and as a result, those who go on to access higher education are widely celebrated within the sector. There is a temptation to assume that care leavers who achieve this type of educational success have had more positive and supportive journeys through the care system than most. Yet, as our latest research findings show, many care-experienced students have difficult and unstable care histories and have progressed to higher education despite the challenges they faced.

Our research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, includes the voices of 234 care-experienced students from 29 universities across England and Wales. Exploring the challenges faced by these care leavers allows us to reflect upon the significant relationships and decision-making processes that shape care for all young people, regardless of their education and career choices.

Many of our participants described confusing and upsetting introductions to the care system, childhoods marked by instability caused by placement and school moves, and frequently changing social workers and personal advisors. Their stories often painted a picture of bureaucratic systems in which mental health support was lacking and the stigma of being care-experienced was perpetuated or left unchallenged.

Our second Findings Report from the ‘Pathways to University’ project puts forward 20 recommendations aimed at Local Authorities, Government and Policy Makers – urging them to accelerate support and promote achievement for all those with care experience.

The following animation captures the key findings from our second report and shares the experiences of young people as they journey through care.

View the ‘Pathways to University: the Journey through Care’ film:

Using data to improve children’s care and protection

External event

Date: February 24
Time: 10-11:30 am

The past year has been challenging in many ways, but we have also seen important progress and positive change, both in response to the coronavirus crisis and in other ongoing improvement work.

Join CELCIS for a discussion of how data-informed initiatives are having a direct impact on improving services and outcomes for children and young people in need of care and protection. Our data team will offer a perspective on what’s changed in data use in the sector since the beginning of 2020, including the impact of the PACE programme, the growing importance of the child protection minimum dataset, and the role of data in response to COVID-19. Colleagues from our local authority partners will join in to explore the direct impact that changes in provision informed by these data sets have had on children, young people and families. The event will close with a discussion of where our approaches to using data to understand the experience of children to improve services have room to continue to grow and improve. As an event focused on data as a practical tool for supporting practice and decision-making, this webinar will be of interest to practitioners and managers, local authority staff with data-related responsibilities, and the academic community.

External event

Mental health and young people and the pandemic

Philippa Watkins, Senior Research Officer, Senedd Cymru

In 2018, the Children, Young People and Education (CYPE) Committee said a ‘step change’ was needed in emotional and mental health support for children and young people in Wales:

“We state that the urgent challenge now lies at the “front end” of the care pathway – emotional well-being, resilience and early intervention – and that addressing this should be a stated national priority for the Welsh Government. Failure to deliver at this end of the pathway will lead to demand for specialist services outstripping supply, threatening their sustainability and effectiveness.”

The Committee’s follow up report – Mind over matter: Two years on (October 2020), says that in the face of the coronavirus pandemic – and its impact on children and young people’s wellbeing – delivery of the Committee’s 2018 recommendations is more important than ever.

How is the pandemic affecting young people’s mental health?

During the pandemic, young people have reported a range of issues including increased anxiety, loneliness and isolation, loss of support networks, and more limited access to mental health and other services they usually rely on. A Mind Cymru survey found that three quarters of young people said their mental health was worse in the early months of the pandemic. A third of young people who tried to access mental health support were unable to do so.

Modelling by the Centre for Mental Health (for England) estimates that 1.5 million children and young people will need new or additional mental health support due to the pandemic (this represents 15% of children aged 5-19 in England). CYPE Committee’s interim report (July 2020) on the impact of the pandemic on children and young people cautions that there is an important balance to be struck between recognising and supporting mental health problems, and not ‘medicalising’ natural responses to a frightening situation.

Longer term impact

It is however, now widely recognised that children and young people are disproportionately affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. There is significant concern about the potential long-term impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The disruption to their education, employment and training opportunities is a key contributing factor here.

According to research by the Mental Health Foundation and Swansea University, nearly 7 in 10 British teenagers fear the pandemic will make the future worse for people their age. The Prince’s Trust highlights the link between poor mental health and not being in employment, education or training (NEET). It fears that, without mitigating action, a ‘lost generation’ of young people are facing long-term unemployment and lasting damage to their mental wellbeing.

In recent evidence, Professor Ann John (Swansea University) told the Health, Social Care and Sport (HSCS) Committee:

“What we want to avoid is what we call a cohort effect, where there’s a particular insult dealt to a generation and those vulnerabilities follow them through in the long term. So, it really is about leveraging protections and services and access to care.”

Role of schools

In 2018, Mind over matter identified the key role schools play in building an emotionally-resilient population of young people. It called for a whole-school approach to reducing stigma and promoting good mental health. It also described the planned reform of the curriculum in Wales as a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to embed wellbeing into children’s lives.

The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill was introduced in July 2020. There’s been considerable discussion among stakeholders about whether the legislation makes explicit enough provision about mental health. CYPE Committee’s stage 1 report (4 December 2020) recommends that the Bill be amended to include specific reference to mental health and wellbeing on the face of the legislation.

“Valuing mental health equally with physical health is vital, especially for our children and young people. As a society, we still have a significant distance to travel before mental health has parity of esteem. While we do not doubt that this Bill aims to address these issues, we believe that a “belts and braces” approach is needed, much like the approach adopted for RSE [Relationships and Sexuality Education]. We need to make sure that the importance of mental health and well-being in our curriculum is plain for all to see now and in the future.”

Whole-system approach

Schools however, are only one element of the ‘whole-system’ approach called for by the Committee. Its Two years on report says that continued commitment and leadership from Welsh Government and sector leads will be essential to drive the system-wide, joint working needed:

“While we are reassured that progress in education is visible and can be evidenced, we are far less confident that the pace of change in health and local government (including social services) is sufficient.”

Responding to this report, the Welsh Government acknowledges the Committee’s concerns about progress in the areas of health and social services. It has agreed to expand the scope of the existing ministerial task and finish group on the whole-school approach to encompass the ‘whole system’, enabling it to provide leadership across all relevant sectors.

Access to mental health services

Mind over matter: Two years on highlights the Committee’s concerns that too many children and young people with mental health needs are still facing difficulties accessing appropriate, timely care. The report makes specific recommendations in relation to:

  • crisis and out of hours support;
  • inpatient services;
  • psychological therapies;
  • the transition from child and adolescent mental health services into adult services, and;
  • support for looked after and adopted children.

While mental health services have been categorised as essential services since the start of the pandemic, both CYPE and HSCS Committees have heard consistent evidence from third sector services and professionals about people struggling to access support. This appears to be the case across the spectrum of need – from early intervention/primary mental health support services through to more specialist services and crisis care.

Missing middle

One of the key areas of concern for the CYPE Committee is that there is still a big gap in provision for what it calls the ‘missing middle’. This term refers to the significant numbers of children and young people who need mental health support, but who may not be unwell enough to need – or meet criteria for – help from specialist services.

The Welsh Government’s response to the Committee’s report highlights the work of the refocused Together for Children and Young People (T4CYP) programme. T4CYP is an NHS-led programme to improve the emotional and mental health support available to children and young people in Wales. One of its three workstreams – ‘Early help and enhanced support’ (EHES) aims to address the needs of the missing middle. The programme’s other key areas of focus are neurodevelopmental services, and regional partnership boards.

T4CYP’s own response to the Committee’s report said it is aiming to finalise the EHES Framework, and undertake preparatory work for its implementation, by March 2021.

Next steps and further information

The Committee recognises the progress that’s been made to date, particularly in respect of schools. And while improvements are now being seen at the ‘front end’ of the care pathway, concerns remain about a lack of provision for children and young people who need more specialist support, those with complex needs, and those who need help in a crisis. The Committee says that ‘significant and urgent’ work remains to be done to ensure that the foundations of the whole-system approach called for are in place by the end of this Senedd. The Committee’s Mind over matter: Two years on report will be debated in Plenary on 16 December 2020. You can watch this on Senedd.tv.

Also of note: