Please note that this event is now finished

Children Looked After 2024

  • Thursday, 23 May 2024
  • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:30
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Open Forum Events is a major producer of national conferences focusing on improving the lives of children and young people. We are pleased to announce the 6th Children Looked After 2024 Conference which aims to address the needs and challenges faced by children in care.

This highly regarded conference provides a platform for professionals, policymakers, and stakeholders to come together and discuss strategies for improving the lives of looked after children and care leavers. With a focus on promoting positive outcomes and ensuring well-being, this event has an important role in shaping policies and upholding child welfare.

Compared to their counterparts, children in care face a plethora of added issues. This vulnerable group are more likely to suffer abuse, become homeless, be teenage parents, not go on to access further and higher education, be a young person not in employment or training, have mental health issues and be victims of exploitation. The challenge, regardless of the added risks and possible problems, is that these children and young people are offered the same opportunities to succeed in life as their peers.

This meeting will serve as a forum for sharing knowledge and expertise, enabling participants to gain valuable insights into the issues faced by children in care. By bringing together both professional and personal experience, the conference content encourages collaboration and the exchange of best practices to create a more positive approach towards supporting looked after children and enabling improved outcomes.

If you have a role in advocating for the rights and well-being of children in care and care leavers book your place today at The Children Looked After 2024 Conference as numbers are limited.

This conference is designed to induce change with knowledge, innovation, and inspiration.
Any transformation of a process or service requires the input of products and services devised to make improvements such as digital technologies; training provision; workforce planning; outsourced services; data and analytics etc.
If your organisation supports change through your products and services, our delegates and conference participants will be ready to engage with you.

  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Olivia Wilson, Care Experienced Speaker (confirmed)

"Beyond Labels: Insights from Foster Care"

From tackling mental health issues to forging paths towards
independence, we explore the resilience and strength cultivated
in the face of adversity. Practical insights and strategies for
professionals and caregivers are shared, emphasising the
importance of support networks in shaping positive outcomes


Case Study

  • Jack McBride, Training and Engagement Manager, Parental Engagement and Education Programmes, YGAM (confirmed)
"Gaming and Gambling: The Appeal Explored"

During this session, Ygam will explore why children might game and/or gamble. We will look at the additional vulnerabilities faced by care-experienced children and highlight the blurred lines between gaming and gambling. Professionals will gain insights on how to upskill their knowledge, to better support the well-being of the children in their care.

  • Karen Payne, Grandmentor, Volunteering Matters (confirmed)
  • Maria McEvoy, Grandmentors Programme Manager, Volunteering Matters (confirmed)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support young people leaving the care system.

  • Sarah Scahill, Care Experience and Progression Programmes Lead, John Lewis Partnership (confirmed)
"John Lewis Partnership - Building Happier Futures"

How the organisation supports people with care experience through employability programmes as all employers can benefit from the talent and potential within the community.


Question & Answer Session

Allocated planned time for speakers to receive questions from the audience and induce further discussion.


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

"Why Shared Reading Matters for Care Experienced Children"

BookTrust is the UK's largest reading charity. We are dedicated to getting every child reading from the youngest age. We know the benefits of shared reading can be transformational, but reading isn’t just about supporting academic attainment. Learn about the latest evidence in how shared reading can strengthen attachments and support emotional wellbeing. In this session we will bring to life how the magic of books can have a lifelong positive impact on the lives of care experienced children

  • Donna Ohdedar, CEO & Founder, Review Consulting Ltd (confirmed)
"Whole Family - A Call for Agency Spanning Practice"

Reviews commonly consider the period of a young person’s transition from Childrens to Adults Social Care. Common themes include absence of whole family focus, unidentified lead agency, and the need for improved strategies for incorporating the voice of the young person. Where issues of geography & systems which don’t speak to each other are involved this can add to the complexity. What are the clear & practical lessons from reviews when it comes to understanding lived experience & responding effectively?

  • Sareda Dirir, Network Development Manager, Kinship (confirmed)
  • Tom Bucher, Head of Network Development, Kinship (confirmed)
"Kinship Care: Supporting the Wider Family and Friends Who Care for Children"

Kinship is the leading kinship care charity for England and Wales, and we support thousands of kinship carers each year - the relatives and family friends who step up to raise children when their parents can't. This presentation will cover what kinship care is, considerations for those working with kinship families, how kinship care fits into the wider children's social care system, and what Kinship can offer to support you and kinship families.


  • Josie Allan, Head of Policy & Partnerships, Missing People (confirmed)
"Children Missing From Care"

Care experienced children are disproportionately likely to be reported missing and can face a range of serious harms while they are away. This session will be centred around the voice of the child, looking at why children go missing from care, what good practice looks like in reporting, and how professionals can best provide support to children upon their return.


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area

A hot, two-course lunch consisting of multiple options will be provided for delegates. We cater for all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten/dairy-free; just notify us ahead of time should you have any allergens or requirements.


Chairs Afternoon Address


Case Study

  • Chloe Grant, Director of Services, Become (confirmed)
"Ending the Care Cliff"

Become is the national charity for care experienced children and young people.

Every year thousands of 18-year-olds face a care cliff where important support and relationships disappear and they are expected to leave care and become independent overnight, often before they feel ready.  Drawing on insights from service delivery, and from participation projects and campaigns with young people, we will outline the policy and practical interventions needed to end the care cliff for children in care at 18, and discuss what the impact of new regulations for 16 and 17 year olds in Supported Accommodation coming into force in April might be.  With a general election on the horizon, this is a critical moment to look at whats needed to end the care cliff so young people are supported into adulthood at a pace that is right for them.

  • Dr Catherine Lamond, Senior Lecturer in Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion Studies, University of Wolverhampton (confirmed)
  • Mel Harris, Aspire2University Senior Project Co-ordinator, University of Wolverhampton (confirmed)
  • Hannah Rollason, A2U Administrator, University of Wolverhampton (confirmed)
"Aspire2University (A2U) - An innovative approach to supporting care experienced students into HE"

A2U is a progressive programme specifically targeting children in care to make informed choices about HE as their educational pathway. Working in partnership with 5 local authorities, it supports young people from KS3 to KS5 to view university as a viable route to achieve their potential and increase life chances.

This presentation will explore:

• Why effective partnership working is considered to be one of the key strengths of A2U.
• The four strands of the A2U programme and how they support the young people holistically throughout the key stages.
• How A2U is endeavouring to address removing potential barriers to learning and progression.

  • Denise Rawls, Director, National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) (confirmed)
"Strategies for Ensuring the Best Further and Higher Educational Outcomes for Care Experienced Students"

In this session Denise will draw on the NNECL quality mark and share tested strategies for;
• Providing with access to specialist services and professional advice on education, training and employment
• Upskilling staff in local schools, colleges and universities to better support care experienced children during their education
• Supporting carers with skills and confidence to inspire and support the vocational aspirations of care experienced young people so they can transition successfully into further and higher education


Question and Answer Session


Afternoon Refreshment Break

  • Freya Burley, Head of Mockingbird Programme, The Fostering Network (confirmed)
"Mockingbird: Delivering Sustainable Foster Care"

Mockingbird, led by The Fostering Network in the UK, delivers sustainable foster care. It is an evidence-based model structured around the support and relationships an extended family provides. In this presentation Freya Burley, Head of Mockingbird Programme, will provide an overview of the model and share learning around the impact is offering for fostering service and the fostering families they support.



Closing Keynote Address

"Double Discrimination: Understanding the needs of Black care-experienced young people in the criminal justice system "

The presentation will bring together cutting edge findings about the important but under-researched topic of Black care-experienced young people in the criminal justice system. It will bring together insights from analyses of linked Ministry of Justice and Department for Education administrative data (ADR UK Fellowship project at Manchester Metropolitan University) and in-depth qualitative research on the lived-experience of justice system involvement (led by Barnardo’s). By bringing together quantitative (ADR UK Fellowship project) and qualitative (Barnardo’s Project) data, the audience will gain a more comprehensive understanding of the issues facing Black care-experienced young people in justice systems in general, and in the prison system in particular. The goal of this presentation is to raise awareness of disproportionalities, with a view to reducing over-representation and improving support for those already involved with justice systems.



Question and Answer Session


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

  • Register for event

You can no longer register for this event
  • Contact Details
  • News
  • Sponsors
  • Supporters
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend

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.

The 18 conference rooms are decked out with all the mod cons including state-of-the-art AV technology, projectors and screens, free Wi-Fi and flip charts. Our clients cover the whole spectrum and include government organisations, trade unions, large corporate companies, non-profit organisations, health and education sectors and small to medium-sized businesses.

From the get-go we strive for excellence in everything we do and our dedicated team of conference professionals go all out to make sure your conference, event or exhibition runs like clockwork.

Featured Events

  • Looked After Children 2022

    • 07 July 2022
    • 08:30 - 15:30
    • Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
  • Looked After Children: Improving Life Chances

    • 05 December 2018
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Looked After Children-Promoting Equality of Opportunity

    • 08 December 2022
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Looked After Children: Safeguarding Welfare-Fulfilling Aspirations

    • 03 December 2019
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Studio, Manchester

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.
  • Final Speaker Presnentations CLA
    Final Speaker Presnentations CLA
  • Further Resources (2).zip
    Further Resources (2).zip

who will attend

  • 14-19 Partnership Teams
  • Academics and Researchers
  • Director/Heads Adoption and Fostering Agencies
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinators
  • Asylum and Immigration Officers
  • Care Leavers Champions
  • Central Government Departments and Agencies
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practitioners
  • Child and Educational Psychologists
  • Child Protection and Safeguarding Teams
  • Child Protection Officers
  • Children’s Health Service Professionals
  • Children’s Services Officers
  • Heads of Children’s Trusts and Children’s Centres
  • Commissioning Managers
  • Community and Voluntary Organisations
  • Community Development Managers
  • Director/Heads Connexions and Jobcentre Plus
  • Director/Heads Corporate Parenting Boards
  • Designated Nurses and Health Advisors for Children in Care
  • Director/Heads Local Education Authorities
  • Director/Heads Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards
  • Director/Heads Local, Regional and National Health Services
  • Director/Heads Looked After/Children in Care Teams
  • Director/Heads NEET Strategy Teams
  • Director/Heads Permanency Teams
  • Director/Heads Regional Adoption Agencies
  • Director/Heads Welfare Rights Organisations
  • Directors/Heads of Children and Young People’s Services
  • Domestic Violence Co-ordinators
  • Director/Heads Drug and Alcohol Action Teams
  • Early Years and Childcare Practitioners
  • Education and Welfare Officers
  • Education Providers
  • Director/Heads Employment and Training Services
  • Families Services Officers
  • Family Intervention Project Workers
  • Family Pathfinder Workers
  • Family Placement Teams
  • Family Support and Outreach Team Leads
  • Heads of Children’s Strategy
  • Members of Health and Wellbeing Boards
  • Director/Heads Homelessness Teams
  • Director/Heads Housing Service Providers
  • Local Authority Officers and Councillors
  • Looked-After Children Team Managers
  • Members of Police and Fire Service
  • Mental Health Practitioners
  • Post Adoption Support Services Leads
  • Psychotherapists
  • Residential Children’s Home Managers
  • School Nurses and Health Visitors
  • Schools, Colleges and Further Education Providers
  • Social Workers and Social Services Officers
  • Director/Heads Supported Housing Teams
  • Teachers and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators
  • Teenage Pregnancy Co-ordinators
  • Third Sector Representatives
  • Youth Inclusion Teams
  • Youth Workers and Youth Offending Teams