Through discussions with academics, policy-makers and professionals from diverse disciplines, this programme seeks to bring people together for a national conversation about how a child developmental orientation can improve how we address the needs of looked after children, their families and those who care for them. It will have two key elements:
- Social and scientific evidence in this field has progressed significantly in recent years, expanding our understanding of the immediate impact of early adversity and maltreatment on development and how its cumulative effects plays out across the life-course. This programme will explore best-evidence and its implications for developing early and effective interventions.
- Within services, attending to children’s developmental need is not a new concept and has roots in the range of disciplines that looked after children encounter. However, due to differing interpretations and priorities and, in the context of financial restraint, an integrated understanding of developmental-need can easily become fragmented, and service-driven rather than child-centred. We will therefore seek to inquire how the organising frame of child development can help to better understand the complexity of looked after children’s needs across disciplines and how children’s day-to-day relationships can be intentionally used to aid repair and recovery.
Over three distinct stages, the programme seeks to explore how the use of an organising frame of child developmental can help improve our understanding of and responses to the needs of looked after children. In particular, it seeks to do this through the concept of integration, defined here as the linkage of differentiated parts. Integration works on three levels:
- For the child, who experiences fragmentation and dysregulation as a result of chronic early adversity;
- For our thinking, that needs to be open to complex ideas from a range of different fields and
- For the system around the child, that requires to work in a cohesive and integrated manner.
These web pages will capture some of the ideas, resources and themes discussed across the programme, not only for the use of participants in the events but also for the wider audience that we hope can be connected into the discussion as well.
This programme is a partnership between:
- The Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures (made up of the Centre for Excellence for Looked after Children and the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice) at Strathclyde University, and
- The Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection at the University of Stirling.