A progressive conference hosted by Kings College in London this February, will look to identify and examine social work practices which are humane, with a view to improving services generally.

The conference will take place on Friday 19th February, 2016 from 10am-4pm. The venue is King’s College London, Denmark Hill Campus, London, SE5.

That we need a conference like this at all highlights the terrible state of things – after all, social work is supposed to be about supportive, humane delivery of services for vulnerable families, but this event is a welcome addition to a growing body of work and cultural shifts within the sector which identify the importance of compassion and good communication in its work.

This conference has been put together by The British Association of Social Workers (BASW), Making Research Count (MRC) and the three Faculties (Children and Families, Mental Health and Adults) of the former College of Social Work. It will hear from practitioners, as well as service users.

The BASW website tells us that the aims of the conference are to:

  • Share ideas from research and practice on how we can work together to support services and practices that are experienced as humane by all involved;
  • Learn from successful examples of system reform such as that undertaken in New York, where parent advocacy became a recognised and valued aspect of provision;
  • Hear from families with histories of hurt and trauma about how services can make a difference.

Guy Shennan, Chair of BASW, and James Blewett from MRC, will be Chairing this conference, and speakers include:

  • David Tobis, PhD, author of ‘From Pariahs to Partners: How Parents and their Allies Changed New York City’s Child Welfare System’
  • Surviving Safeguarding (a parent who blogs about experiences of safeguarding and advocacy for parents)
  • Amanda Boorman, Founder of The Open Nest (a charity that offers support to adoptive and foster families)
  • Sue White, Professor of Social Work, University of Birmingham
  • Brid Featherstone, Professor of Social Work, University of Huddersfield
  • Ruth Allen, Chair of the Mental Health Faculty of the former College of Social Work
  • Maggie Mellon, Vice Chair of BASW
  • Marion Russell, Principal Child and Family Social Worker, Cornwall Council

We’re glad to see that Surviving Safeguading will be speaking, and very much hope that service users will be able to talk about the ways in which services could be improved for families.

It’s not clear who may attend this conference, however there’s no harm in asking should you wish to attend and are not currently a practicing social work professional.

The BASW page tells us that places are limited so you will need to book by 5th February 2016, by contacting the MRC Administrator at King’s College London, janet.noble@kcl.ac.uk

Humane SW