Looked After Children-Promoting Equality of Opportunity

  • Thursday, 08 December 2022
  • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:30
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Due to delegate demand and over subscription, Open Forum Events are pleased to present an additional conference focusing on the lives of children in care and those transitioning out of the system. Based on favourable feedback from three prior events, the Looked After Children-Promoting Equality of Opportunity will bring together those who are campaigning, promoting and working to support equal opportunities and better life chances.

The conference programme will examine the latest developments within children’s social care provision and look to highlight some of the disparities experienced by looked after children with reference to addiction, homelessness, educational achievement and criminal exploitation.  Attendees will receive an update on the numbers within the care system and learn of the issues created from regular transfer of placement, whilst a review of the government funding for adoption will be discussed as a possible solution in providing permanent homes. Examples of best practice will be shared to inform and inspire professional practice, with the intention to improve outcomes and enhance lives.

With its reputation for hosting quality conferences focusing on children’s services, Open Forum Events invites you to a day of informative plenary sessions, delivered by expert speakers, discussion forums and networking opportunities.

Book you place today at this CPD accredited conference, as past experience has shown, tickets sell out fast.


  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Keynote Address

"Improving Life Chances"

Children in care face multiple educational disadvantages. Outcomes are poor and there is much that can and must be done to support their progress, champion their attainment and improve their life-chances.

  • Sue Johnson, Head of Education Inclusion & Virtual School Headteacher, Salford (confirmed)
"Improving Educational Barriers"

Children who are growing up in care often do not do as well in school as their peers. All children should be adequately supported to do well and reach their full potential, whatever their background. There needs to be greater attention on the needs of learners who are looked after, to support them do better in school, and transition successfully into the next stage of their education or employment

  • Natalie Dixon, National Programmes Development Manager, Barnardo's (confirmed)
"Impact of the Pandemic on the Numbers of Children in the Care System"

The number of children in care is at an all-time high, according to latest figures from the Department for Education. As of 31 March 2021, 80,850 children - 67 in every 10,000 - were in care. This amounts to a one per cent increase compared with the number of children in care in March 2020 meaning the figure now stands at the highest on record, the DfE report states.


Headline Supporter


Question & Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area


Eleanor Haworth, Director of Service Delivery, Adoption UK (Invited)

"The Adoption Strategy and the Government’s Multi-Million Funding"

Following the publication of the National Adoption Strategy the government has announced funding which will help children find permanent homes faster, as research shows more adoptive parents are being recruited and children are waiting less time in care. Thousands of vulnerable children in care can find permanent homes faster, through a multi-million-pound investment to support new adoptive families settle into their new lives.

  • Dr Vicki Walker, RCPCH Assistant Officer for Child Protection, RCPCH (confirmed)
"Improving Health of Looked After Children"

Are current provisions working to improve the health of Looked after children? How have national current events impacted on this? What should we consider moving forward?


Case Study


Brigid Robinson, Managing Director, Coram Voice (Invited)

"‘Moving Between Placements a Thousand Times Every Week’ "

Children in care are moving between placements a thousand times every week in England, according to fresh analysis of Government figures. Children’s care placements have changed more than 220,000 times between 2018 and 2021, according to charities’ analysis of figures on looked-after children published by the Department for Education (DfE). This is the equivalent of 1,059 changes every week.


Question & Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address


Case Study

  • Jonathan Whalley, Chief Executive Officer, St Christopher's Fellowship (confirmed)
"Staying Close – Models of equality of opportunity that work for care leavers"

St Christopher’s Staying Close model (set up as part of the Department for Education’s Innovation Programme in 2018) seeks to avoid the cliff edge faced by young people upon leaving the residential care system aged 18. The model creates safe, permissive environments for young people to maintain appropriate relationships with those caring for them after they leave care in particular focussing upon

  • Reducing emotional isolation for residential care leavers
  • Improved first tenancy sustainment
  • Improved employability skills
  • Young people having at least one trusted adult that they can contact
  • Young people having the right to return to their children’s home in times of celebration or need
  • Improved emotional resilience


We note and welcome from the recent Independent Review of Children’s Social care that Staying Close is recommended to become statutory, however there is insufficient agreement on which of the pilot models work best. Our experience has shown that locality factors and needs of individual young people mean that Staying Close principles require bespoke tailoring in application to be successful. Furthermore altogether too much emphasis is placed both centrally and by local government upon the accommodation post care without empowering the young people and the professionals around them with the skills and insights to enact successful sustainable outcomes. St Christopher’s believes that young people are the experts in their own lives and only through meaningful coproduction can reform of services for care leavers deliver equality of opportunity in line with staying put arrangements for fostered young people and non-care experienced peers. Our presentation will focus upon how by listening to young people we have improved equality of their outcomes leaving care.



  • Emily Bowman, Deputy CEO , The Mighty Creatives (confirmed)
  • Emily York, Youth Programme Manager, The Mighty Creatives (confirmed)
"The Art of Creative Mentoring – A Child-Centred Approach"

The Art of Creative Mentoring – A Child-Centred Approach will explore our Creative Mentoring model and the importance of child-centred and social pedagogical approaches when working with children and young people in vulnerable circumstances.

Through the presentation we will share how the model and ethos has been developed and how creativity can be used as an ‘early help’ tool towards positive wellbeing and emotional resilience for care experiences children and young people.


Question & Answer Session


Afternoon Break

"My lived experience as a care leaver, who was addicted to drugs and then become homeless."

I was addicted to Legal Highs (A.K.A Spice) and was bouncing between homes. I was unhappy in the semi-independent placement I had been put in so decided to sleep on the sofas of my friends. Eventually the placement ended and my options to sofa surf soon ran out. I then went on to the streets and was homeless. This is my lived experienced story of how I recovered and now am a homeowner.


Joe Jenkins, Executive Director for Social Impact, Children’s Society (Invited)

"County Lines Report- 10-year strategy"

Vulnerable children, including those that are in the care of social services, are targeted by criminal gangs to undertake criminal activity such as the criminal enterprise called ‘county lines’, where children are used to distribute drugs, supplied by large city gangs, to rural and coastal areas.


Question & Answer Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks and Conference Close

  • Register for event

Having difficulty paying through Eventbrite? If you would like assistance registering your place please contact me on 0161 376 9007 and i'll be happy to assist. If you are awaiting funding you can request us to hold your place today to ensure you do not miss out.

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Luke Boulter
! ***NHS CUSTOMERS*** Please note that we are finding the ticket information is not being displayed across some organisations. If this is the case please get in touch on 0161 376 9007 and we can provide you the details, alternatively if you are using internet explorer to access this information please try an alternative browser e.g. Google Chrome where you might have more success.
  • Gain insight into the key issues affecting children and young people in care and hear from the Independent Review into Children’s Social Care about the national picture.
  • Hear first-hand experiences of care leavers and children in care and consider how the learnings and messages can be applied in practice.
  • Discover innovations in practice from Looked After Children health teams across the UK and consider how these can influence their own service and practice.
  • How better practice in education is attempting to improve the gap between the average performance of Looked After Children
  • 8 CPD Credits
  • Contact Details
  • News
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads

Contact Details


  • Ann Coffey's Speech on Risks of Exploitation facing Looked After Children

    • Posted on 20 December 2019
    • by Ann Coffey


Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre is the ideal solution when searching for conference venues in Manchester. Top-of-the-range conference suites, 3 star value hotel accommodation, delicious dining and friendly service are the ideal components for a successful conference or event in the heart of the city centre.

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Featured Events

  • Looked After Children: Safeguarding Welfare-Fulfilling Aspirations

    • 03 December 2019
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Studio, Manchester
  • Looked After Children: Improving Life Chances

    • 05 December 2018
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Looked After Children 2022

    • 07 July 2022
    • 08:30 - 15:30
    • Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Downloads & Resources

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