Achievements of the Foundation in Improving Child Protection Policy and Practice
The Foundation’s aims and objectives are to improve policy and practice for the well-being of children and young people. Since 1987 the Foundation has been organising conferences involving key speakers, policy makers and delegates from central and local government, the professions, business and academia, the care services and voluntary organisations, who discuss difficult issues fearlessly and openly. Each conference report is posted on the Foundation website and recommendations adopted by delegates are promoted through parliamentary briefing.
The Foundation’s achievements are often the successful adoption by others of new initiatives arising from our conferences, and the contacts and networks made to improve the well-being of children and young people.
Issues examined at Foundation conferences include:
- specialised training for all involved with children’s welfare
- ensuring all children complete full schooling and training for jobs
- communication failures between education and social services
- children as victims of violence between parents
- difficulties in residential care for children
- child sexual exploitation
- cross-border paedophile activity
- reform of the youth justice system.
‘Best practice’ models shared at conferences have been widely adopted across England and Wales.
‘Working Together’ the guidance document which accompanied the landmark Children Act 1989 was revised after a searching review by practitioners at the annual conference.
In 2002 the Foundation prepared a video programme – A Second Chance, for screening at Young Offenders’ Institutions throughout the country – with case studies on training and job opportunities in the community.
The Foundation’s 1997 conference on Cross-border Paedophile Activity and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes had a pivotal influence on legislation regarding sexual offenders arrested abroad.
Five consecutive conferences reviewing children and crime have produced new ideas for keeping young people out of prison and reforming the youth justice system.
As part of a five year plan established in 2006, in November 2007 the Foundation ran its 20th Anniversary Conference under the title ‘Preventing the abuse of children and young people and promoting their emotional and mental health’ which proved to be a major success, attracting support from the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health. Continuing the five year plan, the Foundation organised a conference ‘From Conception to Reception: Early Years Intervention’ which took place in September 2008.
The sequel in September 2009 was entitled: ‘The Reception Years: ensuring children’s well-being from 3 to 5 years’. Most importantly for the work of the Foundation, in association with the National Children’s Bureau, a Parliamentary Briefing was arranged in the House of Lords in February 2010.
The five year plan continued with the organisation of the annual conference in September 2010 on the topic ‘Promoting the Well-being of the Primary School Age Child’. In association with TACT, a children’s charity undertaking related work, the Foundation presented a Parliamentary Briefing on conference outcomes in the House of Lords in May 2011.
A conference on Child Defendants was held in April 2009 and has provided the basis for the thinking of the Young Defendants’ Strategy Group which is an important and ongoing element of the Foundation’s work.