The future of special guardianship



Location: Leeds

Date: 23 Feb 2017


Central Leeds

Conference time: 10.00am - 4.00pm

Closing date for booking: 22/11/2016


Permanence has become a central concept and driver in child care planning. Where children are unable to live with their birth parents, the law requires statutory services to consider extended family members and others in the child’s network as potential carers. Special guardianship is one option for legally securing such placements, but as the recent review has concluded, the system is not working as well as it needs to and legislative changes are proposed. Concerns identified in a significant minority of orders are based on poor assessments, risky placements and inadequate support.

This conference will explore these issues and help practitioners think about the challenges in this complex area of work. What exactly did the review find and what is proposed to address this? What is the view from the courts, and what is required from social workers? What does best practice in assessment look like, and in particular, what is meant by ‘viability assessment’? When are placements too risky, and why? And what about support needs; what can be offered and what works best?

This conference will aim to look at all these questions, bringing together service users, practitioners from different disciplines, academics, and those involved in policy formation. This is a conference that will leave practitioners better placed to deliver quality services now, and into the future.


  • Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive, Family Rights Group


  • Alexandra Conroy Harris, Legal Consultant, CoramBAAF
  • Judith Harwin, Professor in Socio-Legal Studies, School of Law, Lancaster University
  • Lucy Peake, Chief Executive, Grandparents Plus University
  • Dr John Simmonds OBE, Director of Policy, Research & Development, CoramBAAF
  • Robert Tapsfield, Children's Social Care Consultant
  • Voices of special guardians


By the end of the conference delegates will have:

  • considered the outcome of the special guardianship review and the implications going forward
  • reflected on what is happening in the courts, and heard about what is expected in social work reports
  • considered safeguarding issues in the context of special guardianship thought about best practice in assessment including the undertaking of viability assessments
  • heard how special guardians experience kinship care; for better or worse; and considered different models of support

Who should attend

All those involved with kinship care including children’s services social workers and managers, fostering social workers, independent reviewing officers, legal professionals, CAFCASS children’s guardians, panel members, academics, social work students, foster carers and special guardians.


Corporate or associate CoramBAAF member rate: £185 + £37 VAT total: £222
Individual CoramBAAF member or student rate: £135 + £27 VAT total: £162
Adoptive parent or foster carer rate: £105 + £21 VAT total: £126
Non member rate: £250 + £50 VAT total: £300

*Concessions for care leavers and adopted young people available by negotiation

Contact details

Telephone: 020 7520 7520

Also see

Kinship care: some questions answered (2016)
Kinship Care: what it is and what it means
Special guardianship in practice