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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!

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Price of pupil poverty guides webinar

The price of pupil poverty guides – 4 November 2021, 10.00 – 11.00am

Join Children in Wales for an awareness raising session on The Price of Pupil Poverty Guides (Children in Wales | Price of Pupil Poverty).

Webinar poverty series: session 2 

Find out how you can take simple steps to adopting a whole-school approach to poverty-proofing your setting, to ensure that the cost of the school day does not cause barriers to learning and wellbeing for pupils from low income and disadvantaged families. (Children in Wales | Price of Pupil Poverty).

The webinar will provide an opportunity for schools and other settings to gain information, understand the impact poverty has on the everyday school lives of pupils, and provide possible solutions on how to poverty-proof and make a difference.

Sadly as a result of the pandemic, we are seeing a growth in the detrimental impact of poverty on pupils’ wellbeing, and increasing financial pressures on families. The Price of Pupil Poverty Guides can be a used as a tool to help mitigate the impact.

Speaker and biography:

Kate Thomas, Price of Pupil Poverty Development Officer, Children in Wales.

The role is funded by the Welsh Government and aims to raise awareness of the Price of Pupil Poverty Guides across Wales. Kate has been with Children in Wales for three years and has a background in Youth Work, Children’s Rights, Participation and Housing.  As part of her work, Kate works with a number of schools across Wales to provide training and to support them in implementing the guides and mitigating the negative impact poverty has on their pupils.

Safeguarding disabled children & young people

30 November 2021
09:30 – 16:00

A one-day course

This one-day course aims to increase practitioners’ understanding and confidence in the specific issues involved in safeguarding children and young people with disabilities and improve skills in responding to their safeguarding needs.


Research shows that disabled children are at an increased risk of being abused compared with their non-disabled peers (Jones et al. 2012). They are also less likely to receive the protection and support they need when they have been abused (Taylor et al. 2014). This training emphasises the importance of child focused practice as case reviews highlight that professionals often focus on the health and care needs of disabled children and may struggle to identify and respond effectively to safeguarding concerns.

Does Household Income Affect children’s Outcomes? A Systematic Review of the Evidence

By: Cooper, K., Stewart, K.

Child Ind Res (2020)

Review written by: David Westlake

What question does this study focus on? 

It is well known that children resident in lower income households fare worse on a wide range of outcomes, and several interventions have tried to address this. However, we don’t know how far this can be explained just by lack of money, or whether associated disadvantages such as lower social and cultural capital, or stress caused by financial difficulties, are more explanatory. This distinction is important because, as the authors point out, policymakers might be able to change family income relatively easily by adjusting tax and benefits or by other means. If money is itself a key factor, then this should have a positive impact. 

How did they study it?

In this paper the researchers systematically reviewed studies that might be expected to provide causal insights. This meant they included experimental and quasi-experimental studies, such as Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), and some other types of quantitative research. Reviewing a large cache of research is a good approach to unpicking some of the complexity, and the study had a wide timeframe going back to 1988. The main child outcomes of interest were cognitive development and school achievement; social, behavioural and emotional development; and physical health. Fifty-four studies made it through the selection process to be included in the review.

What did they find?

The review concluded that income itself is a causal factor in child outcomes, and not just something that is correlated with other types of disadvantage. This effect was seen in the majority of studies included, and the evidence was strongest in relation to cognitive and educational development, but also positively predictive of social, behavioural and emotional indicators. There was a more mixed picture in relation to child health outcomes. Interestingly, the study also identified some potential mediating factors, including “Consistently significant positive effects [linking income and] maternal mental health, parenting and the home environment”. This leads the authors to conclude that there is support for both the idea that money helps families buy things that promote child welfare (e.g. healthy food, learning materials), and the theory that reduced financial stress for parents creates better emotional environments for children. Referred to in the literature as the ‘family stress model’, this second idea suggests that a parent who is less worried about money may be have the mental and emotional capacity to spend more quality time with their children.

What are the implications? 

Like many reviews in this area, this one is limited by the amount and nature of the studies it includes. There were relatively few studies that met the inclusion criteria, and nearly half were from the USA. This means our understanding of this area will benefit from more research into the role of financial resources and studies from different countries and settings. The national context is even more important for this area than others, because countries vary markedly in terms of levels of welfare and state support available – which of course impacts family finances directly. 

This study makes an important contribution to our understanding of low income and child welfare outcomes, and it fits within a wider body of research on the role of inequalities and services for children and families. It suggests interventions based around material and financial help for families may be well placed to make a difference. This is consistent with our own evaluation of Devolved Budgets in three local authorities which was published last year.


Review written by

Profile photo of David Westlake who wrote this article review

David Westlake

Creativity, diversity, and disability

A group of staff and students at Cardiff University would like to mark the UN’s International Day of Disabled Persons on 3rd December with a collaborative, digital, multimedia event: “Creativity, Diversity and Disability: A creative representation of lived experiences of the move to a more digital world due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

This will be digital exhibition of creative expressions from individuals, groups, and organisations that depict, present, and represent experiences of and from individuals, groups, and organisations.
We welcome creative contributions in a range of formats suitable for a digital display including:

  • Images — photographs, graphics, scanned drawings, etc.
  • Written Poetry or prose
  • Spoken (recorded) poetry or prose
  • Music

If you would like to contribute to the event, please send a submission by 5th November to cddwales2021©gmail.com. We welcome submissions from individuals, groups, and organisations, particularly those from groups underrepresented in current conversations on disability.

Care-experienced children: understanding and supporting care-experienced young people

Care-experienced children / Plant sydd a Phrofiad

21 October 2021
19 November 2021
17 December 2021
7 January 2022
14 January 2022
3 February 2022

A one-day course
This one-day free training course is aimed at practitioners working directly with care experienced children in a range of settings including family support, youth work, play work, teaching, outdoor and arts activities to have a greater understanding of their support needs.

The training will be informed by the experience and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – which has of course impacted the experience of looked after and care experienced children significantly since March 2020. In particular, this will include consideration of resilience, the impact of trauma and consequent need for trauma informed approaches to be used in order to support individuals. The training will explore the variety of living situations practitioners may come across, the meaning of terminology used, and focus on what young people have said about their experience of being ‘in care’.

Challenging stigma, discrimination & poor outcomes for young parents in & leaving care

Challenging the stigma, discrimination, and poor outcomes for young parents in and leaving care: #MessagestoCorporateParents 

Louise Roberts, Rachael Vaughan, and Dawn Mannay 

Young parents in and leaving care can often feel unsupported in negotiating the challenges of becoming a parent. Dr Louise Roberts conducted a five-year Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) research study that was funded by Health and Care Research Wales. The idea for the study came from Voices from Care Cymru, and listening to parents’ views and experiences was a key priority of the research.  

The book published from this study reflected on the experiences of new parents, and others who were looking back on their experiences of becoming parents. Some parents who took part felt that they had people to support them, but others felt isolated and alone. Some parents were living with their children, while others were separated from their children. The book considered the support available when young people become parents and after completing the book Louise wanted to look at ways to improve support systems in Wales.  

Louise applied for funding with colleagues Rachael Vaughan and Dawn Mannay, for a project that aimed to challenge the stigma, discrimination, and poor outcomes for young parents in and leaving care.  The project worked closely with young people and other key stakeholders to consider and promote good practice for parents in and leaving care. 

The project has developed a charter #MessagestoCorporateParents and other linked outputs and events, including a webinar focussed on Supporting Parents in and Leaving Care which will take place in November 2021. 

You can also find out more about the project and its outputs and events on these dedicated webpages Supporting Parents in and Leaving Care: #MessagestoCorporateParents

You may be interested in these related blogs:

Between the lines: Trauma-informed practice, a lived experience perspective

External event notice

Between the lines & asking whys: Trauma-informed practice, a lived experience perspective

Open Access Learning & Development Opportunity

November 18, 2021

Artifacts: Open Access Learning & Development Opportunity 18.11.21

Trauma is an issue that has the potential to impact upon all humans, and therefore becoming trauma informed is a human issue. Every single member of society has a role to play in understanding and responding to the affects and impacts of trauma. This does not mean that everyone must become an expert in trauma, but it does mean that we all have a part to play in understanding trauma, creating awareness of trauma from a range of diverse and unique perspectives, empowering other individuals and communities to create their own awareness of trauma; and within the context and remit of your own roles you all have a part to play in responding to and supporting those affected and impacted by trauma and adversity in one way or another.

At Artifacts, we start from the perspective that drawing upon our lived experience of the impact of trauma and distress can support in providing insight, can help to challenge current thinking and positively support in shaping service provision and delivery. Highlighting the value of connections, the need for hope, inspiration, purpose and meaning, and the complex, multi-facetted, interconnected and often inter-generational nature of trauma.

This session explores trauma in an incredibly open, honest, and candid way and it is the responsibility of those booking this session to ensure that delegates are aware that it explores content that could be difficult, distressing or triggering to individuals; and therefore, a part of attendance is recognition of this in terms of self-care.

External events notice

Breaking bad news: Child welfare workers’ informing parents of care order proceedings.

By: Marte Tonning Otterlei and Ingunn Studsrød 

Child and Family Social Work 

Review written by Dr David Wilkins

What question does this study focus on? 

This study explored how child welfare workers talk to parents about the decision to issue care proceedings, and how workers cope with these difficult conversations.  

How did they study it?

Interviews were completed with twelve experienced child welfare workers from Norway. Workers were asked to reflect on their meetings with parents in which they had told them about the decision to seek a care order for the child.  

What did they find?

Telling parents about the decision to seek a care order was perceived as a ‘brutal and devaluing act’. Workers knew it would cause parents considerable emotional pain. As a result, they avoided talking about the parent’s failures, downplayed the reasons why the care order was needed and kept meetings short. Workers struggled to be direct and thorough, without being inhumane. One strategy was to provide information, without inviting a dialogue. Many workers, but not all, felt responsible for taking care of parents and children during and after the meetings. However, workers often found that parents were too angry to accept their offers of help, or suggestions about who else might support them. The workers also noted that the child’s safety was their ultimate priority, not the parent’s well-being.  

Many workers talked about finding these meetings exhausting, and emotionally draining. Some talked about being scared of parents, particularly if they had a history of violence. Workers felt desperate, angry, frustrated, anxious and confused. Some workers described themselves as being like a traitor to the family.  

What are the implications? 

From the study itself, the implications are that workers need to prepare well for these meetings, in order to ensure they know what they need to say, and how. Some of the coping strategies employed, such as downplaying the need for the care order, may ‘work’ in the short-term to protect the parent (and worker) from emotional pain, but in the longer-term are unlikely to help the parent understand what is happening. Seeking support and advice from colleagues and supervisors before and after the meeting is one important way of coping with and preparing for this task.   

More broadly, the study highlights just how difficult the role of child welfare or child protection worker can be – and how under-prepared many workers feel for some of the most important tasks involved. Because of the nature of these meetings, we are often reliant, as in this study, on retrospective self-reports of what happened. It is difficult to know how we might more directly observe and learn from these meetings, and about what makes them more or less effective. Hearing more about the parent’s perspective would be one way of creating a more holistic understanding.  


Review written by

Dr David Wilkins

Autumn Conference Series: Transitions for Young People

We are very excited to announce our autumn conference series on ‘Transitions for Young People’, to include webinars, videos, podcasts, blogs and more.

Webinars

What makes life good? Care leavers’ views on their well-being
Linda Briheim-Crookall, Coram Voice


Watch the presentation
It’s complicated: A longitudinal exploration of young people’s perceptions of placement and reflections on changing children’s social care
Prof Heather Taussig
University of Denver
11/11/21: 1-2pm

Register

A young father holding his baby
Supporting Parents in and Leaving Care
Dr Louise Roberts & Rachael Vaughan
9/11:/21
11am-12pm
Register
Lost in Transition?
The post-school experiences of young people with vision impairment
Dr Rachel Hewett, University of Birmingham
17/11/21
1-2pm

Register




Recordings

Podcast: Transition to University – Challenges for care experienced young people
Dr Hannah Bayfield and Lorna Stabler, Cardiff University.



Release date: 27 October

Video: Understanding the Support Needs of Children Adopted from Public Care: Findings from the Wales Adoption Cohort Study
Dr. Amy Paine, Cardiff University.


Release date: 3 November

Podcast: Do you ever really leave care when your carer is a family member? Transitions in kinship care
Lorna Stabler, Cardiff University and Abbie Toner, University of Suffolk.

Release date: 15 November


Blogs

Don’t Hold Back – Transitions to adulthood for young people with learning disabilities How do transitions shape the educational journeys of adult care leavers?Educational Pathways and Work Outcomes of Disabled Young People in England
Prof Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Dr Eavan Brady, Trinity College Dublin.Dr Angharad Butler-Rees and Dr Stella Chatzitheochari, University of Warwick
Release date: 25 OctoberRelease date: 29 OctoberRelease date: 2 November
When I’m ready – how do we support young people in care to stay at home once they turn 18?When I’m ready – looking towards the futureGetting ready – to leave care
Lorna Stabler, Cardiff University.Jane Trezise, Voices From Care Cymru.Tracey Carter, Voices From Care Cymru.
Release date: 10 NovemberRelease date: 12 NovemberRelease date: 15 November

Experts by experience

Growing Wings: A poetry project to explore transitions with children and young people looked after The poetry you see in this programme has been created by children and young people looked after in Wales. More information and poems will be released through the duration of the conference series. Project coordinated by Bridget Handley and Clare Potter, Cardiff University.

Information about this conference can be downloaded in full.