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There are a few ways you can prepare for an ExChange Wales event. Research the venue and consider travel times to arrive early. Study the schedule or details of the visiting lecturer or workshop leader to familiarise yourself with their expertise or to help you to prepare questions. While at an event, connect with other researchers, staff or practitioners to broaden your own areas of interest. Organise your materials – bring a pen and paper or check your technology for note-taking. Don’t forget to follow-up after the workshop: presentations, Twitter feeds, or further materials may be available. And finally: check for our next event!

While you’re here, explore ExChange Wales resources: 

Finally, if you find our event interesting or helpful, consider retweeting us @exchangewales. We look forward to welcoming you.

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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.

Datblygu Ymarfer Cyfoethogi Tystiolaeth (DEEP)

Tra bod llawer o ddiddordeb mewn ymarfer ar sail tystiolaeth mewn gofal ac iechyd cymdeithasol, mae gwireddu hynny’n heriol am amryw resymau.

Bydd y digwyddiad ExChange arfaethedig yn amlinellu dull cyfranogol, gofalgar a democrataidd o ran defnyddio tystiolaeth mewn dysgu a datblygu sy’n cynnwys gweithwyr cymdeithasol, ymarferwyr gofal cymdeithasol, rheolwyr, defnyddwyr gwasanaeth a gofalwyr yn cydweithio i ymchwilio a gwneud y byd yn lle gwell.

Mae gan y dull DEEP bum prif elfen: 

  • creu amgylcheddau ymchwil ac ymarfer cefnogol sy’n canolbwyntio ar berthnasau; 
  • rhoi gwerth i fathau amrywiol o dystiolaeth; 
  • defnyddio naratifau cyffrous i gasglu a rhannu gwybodaeth; 
  • defnyddio ymagweddau’n seiliedig ar ddeialog o ran dysgu a datblygu; 
  • a chydnabod a datrys rhwystrau systemig rhag datblygu. 

Gan ddefnyddio gwybodaeth a dealltwriaeth bresennol o ddisgyblaethau amrywiol, nod dull DEEP yw mynd ar ôl pob agwedd gyda’i gilydd, gan ganolbwyntio’n benodol ar ddefnyddio sawl ffurf ar stori, sy’n cynnwys y galon a’r meddwl.

Bydd y digwyddiad yn trafod agweddau theori ac ymarferol dull DEEP, gan ddefnyddio enghreifftiau o waith dysgu a datblygu cysylltiedig yng Nghymru. Bydd hefyd yn cyflwyno rhaglen 2020-23 DEEP gan gynnwys cyfleoedd hyfforddiant arfaethedig o ran defnyddio dull DEEP.

I ddarllen ym mhellach am y pwnc, mae ein siaradwr gwadd wedi ysgrifennu blog am y pwnc

Survey of children’s social services and care rates in Wales

We really value your commitment to helping us bridge the gap between research, practice, and policy. This is why we are calling on you. If you work in children’s social care, we need your views and opinions on social care practice in Wales.

The survey will take 15 minutes of your time, but your contribution will be invaluable to helping us to understand stark variations in the numbers of children in care between local authorities. Plus, you will be entered into a prize draw with other members in your local authority to win £250 for a children’s charity of your choice.

About the study

The number of children in care in Wales has increased in recent years, and there are differences between rates among local authorities. Evidence suggests that a significant proportion of this variation is the result of differences in practice. Our aim is to understand factors influencing practice from the “ground up” including differences between local authorities. This survey is designed for social workers, managers, and senior social services managers in Wales. 

This study is funded by the Welsh Government and carried out by the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) and the Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) at Cardiff University. 

Your responses will be anonymous and individual local authorities will not be identified in our final report. Thank you in anticipation, we can’t wait to hear your thoughts to help us make a better future for children in Wales.

#BlackLivesMatter series webinar 1: Anti-Racism in social work

Abstract

In this webinar, the first in our #BlackLivesMatter series, Wayne Reid will reflect on the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the meaning of anti-racism: The belief that all races and ethnic groups are equal and deserving of the same opportunities.

Anti-racism requires action to tackle existing inequality. Wayne will explore how this is relevant to social work, through professional standards, codes of ethics, cultural competence and the underpinning values of social justice.

Biography

Wayne Reid is a Professional Officer & Social Worker for the British Association of Social Work (BASW) England and lives in Sheffield. Wayne has worked in: private fostering; the Probation Service; youth offending; adult mental health; child protection and with care leavers. He is a widely revered inspirational speaker and campaigner for racial equality.

Wayne’s career reflects his dedication to supporting vulnerable members of society, working with diverse professionals from across all sectors to improve service standards and meet holistic needs. His wide-ranging career has enabled him to understand the dynamic contextual factors that affect the strategic planning, implementation and review of effective Social Work services and the direct impact this has on service-users, practitioners and the public.

As a black male social worker, Wayne understands some of the challenges that service-users and practitioners from different minority groups can face. From his experience, Wayne believes academic and ‘life education’ are essential to improve an individual’s quality of life and life chances. Wayne adds: “Social Work is a vital multi-faceted international service that: coordinates support for the most vulnerable people in society; assesses and manages risk; addresses problematic behaviours and relationships; champions equality and social justice; optimises service-users’ strengths, promotes human decency and creates meaningful opportunities for social mobility”.

How Coronavirus has affected equality and human rights

This report was originally published at www.equalityhumanrights.com

This report summarises evidence that helps us understand the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on different groups in society. It highlights potential long-term risks to equality and human rights covering key issues in the areas of:

  • work
  • poverty
  • education
  • social care
  • justice and personal security

We make targeted recommendations for the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to ensure equality and human rights considerations are integrated into the policy response to the pandemic.

This report is part of the ‘Is Britain Fairer?’ report series.

Developing child-focused local family alliances in Wales

The Child Arrangements Programme (CAP) was designed to divert low risk disputes between separated parents away from courts and promote the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Despite an initial decline in the number of applicants in 2014, there has been an increase in the number of private law applications and unrepresented litigants (Private Law Working Group, 2019). This has led to unprecedented volumes of work for family court judges, with His Honour Judge Wildblood QC calling for applications to be taken to court only if it is ‘genuinely necessary’ (Re B (a child) (unnecessary Private Law Applications, 2020). Determining whether court is genuinely necessary can be complicated where there are allegations or concerns about domestic abuse or safeguarding children. The Ministry of Justice Report (2020) warns against reducing dependence on courts in these cases. The picture is further complicated in Wales as courts fall under the remit of the Ministry of Justice. Conversely, the responsibility for children and family services is devolved to Welsh Government. Such a division can complicate matters as courts may not be aware of additional child and family social care provision. For example, a child from a separated family in Wales may be eligible for more support under a Child Assessment Support Plan (Social Services Well-being (Wales) Act 2014), than a similar child in England. Development of child focused local families alliances for supporting parents in Wales must bring the family justice system and child and family social care together so that parent disagreements can be resolved through non-court based options, where it is appropriate to do so. Family courts are an inappropriate vehicle for conflict resolution between separating parents. The process can serve to escalate parental conflict with children caught in the middle. This leads to heightened risk of negative child outcomes such as poor mental health, wellbeing and lower educational attainment. 

Researchers at Cardiff University have recently published a report that identifies service provision for separating families in Wales and outlines three scenarios for the development of child-focused supporting separating families alliances (SSFA). Commissioned by Welsh Government, the report contributes to what is known about the services available for conflicting parents, the referral pathways and offers proposed solutions of how to provide support to families before, during and after separation away from family courts, where it is appropriate to do so. The report draws on findings from three elements of data collection. First, a mapping exercise of service provision drawing on findings from eight online survey responses and informal discussions with six stakeholders. Second, semi-structured interviews with 22 stakeholders, including representatives from voluntary funded, social enterprises, limited companies and statutory services and a focus group with two young people from the Family Justice Young Peoples Board. Third, the report includes reference to a consultation exercise with 13 stakeholders who considered the three proposed scenarios.

The greatest source of parental conflict involved disagreements around child residence and contact arrangements. The default reaction to such disagreements is recourse to court as parents have unrealistic expectations of what the court can and should do. This reflects His Honour Judge Wildblood QC’s observation that some judges are being called upon to determine minor changes to contact arrangements such as which junction of the M4 parent’s should exchange the child (Re B (a child) (unnecessary Private Law Applications), 2020). Such disagreements can arise due to perceptions around equitable contact or financial burden serving to prolong relationship difficulties or they can be seen as a vehicle to obtain housing or financial recompense. The report considers the emotionality of relationship breakdown and the resultant difficulties in putting these emotions to one side in order to amicably resolve issues concerning the child. Consequently, issues surrounding relationship breakdown and child arrangements can be identified indirectly through existing provision such as family support or parenting programmes or directly where the parent or court may seek further support. Where parents were receiving help through existing provision, some services such as the Team Around the Family were already delivering dispute resolution with some having adopted elements of the Working Together for Children programme. This was not true of all services and so the report describes a postcode lottery in terms of what provision is available to parents. 

The report reiterates findings relating to problems around Mediation, Information and Assessment Meetings (Private Law Working Group, 2020) and the relatively low take up of mediation (Cusworth et al., 2020). Findings revealed a dearth of mediators in Wales accredited to undertake MIAMs, with fewer qualified to work with children. This is a particular issue as young people identified mediation as an ideal vehicle for getting their voices heard during parental separation. Despite these difficulties, stakeholders suggested that mediation could be effective in diverting parents away from courts. The report also emphasised the role of contact centres as safe places for parents to see or exchange children as well as a neutral venue to access support such as mediation. However, stakeholders also raised concerns about the extent to which families were aware and able to afford these services. 

The report found overwhelming support for the creation of SSFAs. In terms of their remit, the report found that the term ‘separating families’ is somewhat of a misnomer. In practice, parents may never have been in a relationship or may never have ever lived together. This reflects the diverse nature of children’s home environments with some families including extended family members such as aunts, uncles and grandparents and/or reconstituted families involving stepparents and additional siblings. Findings from representatives from the Family Justice Young People’s Board emphasised the need for services aimed at young people to be included as well as inclusion of young people in existing services such as mediation. This means that SSFAs must be accessible and equipped to cater for the needs of parents, carers and other members of the child’s family network as well as children and young people. In doing so, consultation stakeholders recommended that the focus of SSFAs should be upon enhancing relationships before, during and after separation. Stakeholders also recommended that seeking relationship support must become normalised, whether this is support to remain together or to part amicably. Although the report found that some parents may require support in order to identify and access help from services. Hence, there is a need for both remote and in-person delivery and where some parents or family members may require support.

The report outlined three scenarios for the development of child focussed SSFAs ranging from no additional cost, limited additional resource to significant and ongoing resource. At the no additional cost level, the report illustrates how the SSFA could be included within existing provision, the Single Advice Fund, currently being delivered in Wales by Citizen’s Advice. This provision serves as a one stop shop connecting people to the most appropriate service in a timely manner. Further this option provides both remote and in person delivery. Although the current offer would need to be extended to include mediation, contact centres, other non-court based resources as well as family support and parenting programmes. The scenario for limited additional resource involved situating the SSFA within a sister arm of Cafcass Cymru. This option is aligned with the CAP which emphasises that the court and those working in family justice services are obliged to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution at every stage of the process. Cafcass Cymru is described as an established child-friendly organisation already equipped with relevant knowledge of what mediation and family services are available for separating parents. The report outlines the creation of a separate branch, or sister arm, of Cafcass Cymru to ensure differentiation between those families who are being investigated and those who are being signposted to services. Finally, for the scenario requiring significant and ongoing resource, the report draws reference to Relationships Scotland which brings together provision of counselling, mediation, and the delivery of contact centres under one umbrella organisation. The report outlines the potential for something similar in Wales, provisionally titled ‘Relationships Wales’; an online platform with telephone helpline aligned with existing policy and provision under the Families First programme and commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Such a platform would include a bank of resources including family support, parenting programmes, mediation, contact centres and other non-court based approaches. In doing so, the report states that families would have access to a range of advice and support with parents and carers empowered to access appropriate support either through the dedicated helpline or via an online assessment tool. 

This report is very timely in light of the increase in parental separation and disagreements around contact in light of Covid-19. The report concludes that the effectiveness of all three scenarios is based upon the need to embed and normalise relationship support that is both accessible and affordable. Further, it highlights that it is only when parents and carers accept and engage with relationship support that it will be perceived as a viable alternative to court. 

Developing a Supporting Separating Families Alliance: a scoping study – August 2020 Report

Treatment of children and young people accused of a crime in the justice system

This is an external event hosted by the British Academy.

How should children and young people accused of a crime be treated within the justice system?

This webinar will include a panel discussion focussing on the complex question of to what extent children and young people should be held responsible for their actions. The discussion will take place virtually by Zoom webinar on Tuesday 08 December, 2.00-3.30pm. 

This online event will explore the complex question of to what extent children and young people should be held responsible for their actions within the justice system. The age of criminal responsibility in England & Wales (10 years) is low by international standards, and panellists will discuss the appropriateness or otherwise of this age limit. There will also be a consideration of the Scottish Children’s Hearings System, including how this system compares with that found in England & Wales. A panel discussion will bring together different perspectives to consider the multifaceted relationship between children and young people and the justice system. 

Speakers will include:

  • Professor Claire McDiarmid, Head of School, School of Law, University of Strathclyde 
  • Dr Michelle Donnelly, Lecturer in Law, University of Stirling
  • Dr Harriet Pierpoint, Associate Professor, Centre for Criminology, University of South Wales

This event forms part of the British Academy’s Childhood Policy Programme. The programme was set up to reframe debates around childhood in both the public and policy spaces, and to break down academic, policy and professional silos in order to explore new conceptualisations of children in policymaking. The Academy’s series of childhood provocation papers, written by experts from across the social sciences, humanities and arts accompanies the programme. This event will provide an opportunity to debate and discuss issues surrounding two of these provocation papers – Dr Michelle Donnelly’s  ‘Scottish youth justice and the legacy of Kilbrandon‘ and Dr Harriet Pierpoint’s ‘Age of criminal responsibility’. 

If you have any questions about this event please contact the Childhood programme team at childhood@thebritishacademy.ac.uk. Please do forward this invite to any colleagues who may be interested in attending.

Future Generations Commissioner’s Report

In May, the Future Generations Report 2020 was published. This report analyses the progress of all public bodies, including Welsh Government, in implementing the wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act since it became law in 2015. It reflects on the progress of all public bodies in terms of whether they have embraced the cultural change required by the Act, and considers the progress being made on each of the seven national wellbeing goals.  More than 5,000 people told the Future Generations Commissioner and her office about what kind of place they want to live in, and what kind of place they want to leave for future generations. The report shares a vision for the future of Wales and sets out recommendations for government and public bodies to help achieve this vision.

Through the interactive online version you can navigate a future Welsh city and its surroundings, there’s a joint emergency services hub (decorated by a local artist) and a gym and leisure centre connected to the hospital, next to a community ‘hwb.’ Wellbeing hubs are dotted across the city, suburbs and countryside. Alongside independently run cafes and shops, sustainable consumption and production is promoted via a swap shop and a repair cafe next to a recycling centre.

Trains make several stops to serve much of the community and there are no cars in the centre – instead, multiple bike racks. A forest centre sits next to a transport hub and there are e-cars with charging ports. In a park, neighbours play wheelchair sports and do outdoor yoga and the Wales women’s rugby team train.

The town hall flies the Welsh flag and a Pride flag, culture is to be found everywhere, the Welsh language is used in everyday life, and there is an outdoor debating space to encourage citizen involvement. Elsewhere, wind turbines and ‘green bridges,’ to mitigate the impacts of roads on walkers and cyclists, providing a safe crossing for wildlife, are the norm.  It’s a Wales with kindness and wellbeing at the heart. One that is fit for the needs of the future.

We have been delighted to work with the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner, and other organisations, to create a young person’s version of the Future Generations Report, which is accessible and exciting.
Developed by a diverse group of young people, to translate the report into their voice and creative style of choice, this version of the report aims to engage other young people, explaining why the content of the report is relevant to them and their future, alongside how they can get involved in demanding the Future Wales they need.

Content provided by Young Wales.

Children & Young People’s Participation

This event is being hosted externally by Children in Wales.

The event is a free event and spaces are limited:

Dates: 07/12/2020, 17/12/2020, 05/02/2021 & 11/03/2021
Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Virtual: via Zoom

*Not installed Zoom? You can still join via your web browser without installing Zoom

This course will set out the theoretical and legislative framework for children and young people’s participation in Wales and involve techniques that can be used directly with children and young people. The majority of the course will explore the methods that can be used with children and young people on an individual and group bases to include them as widely as possible in decisions that affect their everyday lives. Participants will feel empowered to use practical tools to support children and young people’s participation. The course is fun and involves engaging exercises.

Who should attend?

Practitioners, Managers and Policy Makers from all sectors and all organisations keen to explore how their area of work and how they can maximise the involvement of children and young people in the work of the organisation.

Make your mark

Make Your Mark is an opportunity for 11-18 year olds across the UK to have their say and begin their democratic journey by voting on the policies they want to introduce or change.

The issues you vote as the most important will be debated by Members of Youth Parliament. They will campaign to influence the UK Parliament and their local representatives, ensuring that the views of young people are listened to by decision makers.

This is your opportunity to influence decision makers who can make a real difference on the issues that matter to you. Make Your Mark is one of the most important and influential ways young people can take part in a democratic process.

You have until 30th November to cast your vote!

Topics Include:

  • Support our Mental Health
  • Free University
  • Tackle Child Poverty
  • Stop Plastic Pollution
  • Increase Racial Awareness in the Curriculum
  • Take Action on the Climate Emergency
  • Votes at 16
  • Tackle Discrimination and Hate Crime in the UK
  • Include Young People in the Plan for Covid-19 Recovery
  • Protect Human Rights