A government-funded social work teaching body is launching an initiative to improve child protection in England and Wales, by including parents with experience of the child protection system.

The project will hold its official launch in Birmingham next month, at an event which it hopes will attract families who have been, or are currently inside the care system.

 The Social Work Teaching Partnership West Midlands (SWTP) has created what it calls a “Parent Partnership Programme” which aims to develop “a more supportive, collective and compassionate approach to child protection”, according to the event’s invitation page.

The event will act as the official launch for the scheme, and will feature the experiences of professionals working with parents who have been in the care system in the United States, information on how parent partnership can reduce the need for children to be in care, as well as develop better support for families, and how to foster better cooperation between parents and social workers.

The invitation says that some of the speakers at the event will include parents who have experienced the child protection system. Additional speakers confirmed are Professor Andy Bilson, a spokesperson from ATD Fourth World, and members of the Camden Family Group Conferencing and Southwark Parents Panel.

The event will feature speeches, interactive workshops and a decision making panel.

The organisers are actively encouraging families to attend this event, as well as social work managers and practitioners, with a view to developing the parent partnership scheme further once the launch has been held.

The Social Work Teaching Partnership West Midlands is one of 23 accredited social work teaching bodies funded by the Department for Education to raise the level of education and training for social work students.

The 23 partnerships incorporate 113 councils, 54 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and 32 private, voluntary and independent (PVI) partners.

SWTP West Midlands is made up of local authorities, children’s trusts, NHS trusts and universities.

The Partnership also has a newsletter it sends out, which can be subscribed to through Coventry City Council’s E Mail Alerts Service.

Teaching Partnerships were set up in 2014 to improve social work education, and an evaluation of their impact is set to be published by the Department of Education in March 2020.

An interim report was published in July 2019, which found that while cooperation between social workers and academics had improved in some cases, the sector continued to face ongoing challenges.

The scheme’s launch takes place on Tuesday, February 25 in Birmingham’s Old Library, from 10am – 4pm.

You can access the invitation and register to attend here. 

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