blog icon

Holding the hands of those who hold the hands of children

  • Date:

Last week, we held our annual members’ event. This year we decided to spend a whole week rather than just a day meeting, discussing and sharing insights and ideas with members as there was so much we wanted to squeeze in – and we really did! 

Our theme was the power of relationships for children, young people, families and professionals – and we wanted to explore both the importance of good relationships for us all to thrive and how we as professionals can build and support these positive relationships. We also wanted to think about the power context we work in – and to speak frankly – the inequality of power which social workers and other professionals have to negotiate when they work with children and families.

It was such a powerful and inspiring time to connect. Over the course of the week, we had over 500 people joining us online and in person, for our events and discussion and webinars.

At our online event we heard from the amazing Judith Denton, our keynote speaker. She explored her own journey through the care system, and discussed what helps improve the outcomes and life chances for children and young people in care and care leavers. Her speech was followed by a facilitated conversation with our Fostering Consultant, which picked up these issues in a bit more detail, and she reminded us of just how important social workers are and the difference they can make. And she sang to us! 

We assembled a great panel to discuss the challenges of staying connected with friends and family for children and young people in care – and how we can better support these key relationships. Our panellists included Angie Gillies from AFKA Scotland, Beverley Barnett-Jones from the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, Harpreet Kaur from Pause, and Linda Briheim-Crookall from Coram Voice. They had such nuanced and important insights about maintaining relationships – please have a listen to what they had to say! 

We also brought together all our eight advisory committees – Adoption, Foster Carers, Fostering, Kinship, Legal, Health, Research, BMEPAC – in person. This was an important opportunity for committee members to meet and discuss cross-cutting themes for children and young people in care and leaving care and the committees’ key priorities for the coming year.

You can check out all the activity during Members’ Week here – keynote speech, presentations, panel discussions, our vox pops, the results of our poll and much more. 

Finally, I was really moved by something Angie Gillies said "we need to hold the hands of those who hold the hands of children". That feels more important than ever as we reel from the impact of economic hardship and an uncertain future for children and families. We will do our best to hold your hands as you hold the hands of our children.


Ellen Broomé, Managing Director, CoramBAAF