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Key-note lecture by Children's Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler

Starts: 26 June 2008

Children's Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler

Children's Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler

The School of Social Sciences were very pleased to welcome the new Children's Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler to give a key-note lecture as part of a day seminar in the School. Findings from five recent research projects with looked after children were represented at the seminar. Topics included advocacy services, successful foster care, education and assessing identities. Over 100 practitioners, carers, social work educators and researchers attended the event.

The presentations given during the day can be found at the bottom of the page under Event Resources.

Photo of Looked After Children Main Speakers - Prof. Andy Pithouse, Mr Keith Towler, Dr. Sally Holland and Prof. Teresa Rees

The main speakers at the Looked After Children Event (L to R: Prof. Andy Pithouse, Mr Keith Towler, Dr. Sally Holland and Prof. Teresa Rees)

Event Report

Just over 100 social workers, managers, trainers and policy-makers came to the School on 26th June to hear about the latest research on children in care. They were welcomed by Professor Teresa Rees, Pro-Vice Chancellor, and then heard from Dr Sally Holland about the Qualiti research project (Extra)ordinary lives: Participatory research with looked after children. Jane Thomas, who is currently studying for a PhD at the School, then talked about her research into how children's identities are assessed and reported by local authority social workers. The main conference address was bythe newly appointed Mr Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, who spoke about his role as commissioner in relation to children’s rights. A lively discussion followed all three papers.

Over lunch,short films made by Bambo Soyinka and Nicola Ross with young people in the (Extra)ordinary Lives project were shown and there were opportunites for networking and further discussion. In the afternoon Alyson Rees spoke about the work she is conducting on Foster Care Relationships, before Dr Dolores Davey spoke about key factors that influence the education, experience and achievement of looked after children. Professor Andy Pithouse finished the conference by reporting on a large research project on Children’s Advocacy in Wales. Evaluations of the event were very positive.

This event generated a great deal of interest and an eager waiting list developed of those unable to secure a place. It was one of the latest in a series of events held in recent years by social work academics in SOCSI which have concentrated on knowledge transfer and engagement with practitioners and other end-users (including politicians, practitioners, young people and civil servants). Since the event, speakers have received many further requests to present research findings to practitioner audiences. Additionally, the day will be repeated by request to an audience of government social service inspectors in January. The event is a valuable reminder of the eagerness of practitioners and policy-makers in social care to be kept abreast of research developments and the necessity for academics to find ways of making research findings accessible and informative.


Other information

Open To: Public