Children’s Homes: What were they really like? Have they a future?

A Child Care History
seminar will be held on Wednesday 1
November 2017
at 10.30 a.m. at Hinsley Hall, 62, Headingley
Lane, Leeds, LS6 2BX

Aims of the Seminar

The twin aims of the day are to provide a realistic picture of
what life was like in children’s homes in the past, and to develop a view about
the potential for children’s homes to meet the needs of children and young
people in the future.

The seminar will be of interest both to professionals who are
working in, or managing, children’s homes, and to former residents.


The keynote speaker in the morning will be Peter Higginbotham, whose book Children’s Homes: A history of Britain’s
institutional care for its young,
has just been published.  In its 25 chapters it covers almost every
type of residential children services from their early days in Tudor times,
through the Victorian heyday of the big institutions and the twentieth century
development of local authority homes up to the present day.

Peter is also an acknowledged expert on workhouses. He has
published many books and articles, and his websites contain extensive details
of workhouses and children’s homes. He has broadcast on radio and appeared on
television frequently, most recently explaining about workhouses to Fearne
Cotton in Who Do You Think You Are?


was a panel member in the recent Historical
Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland, which reported in January 2017
and he will speak about what has been learnt about children’s homes in the
province during the Inquiry’s remit from 1922 to 1995.

David commenced his career with eight years working in residential
child care and ended it with eight years as Director of Social Services in
Wakefield. Since then he has acted as expert witness in more than eighty cases,
which in the main related to former children in care alleging negligence by
care providers. From 2012 he was a Panel Member in the Northern Ireland
Inquiry, which published its ten-volume report in January this year.

A panel of former residents
of children’s homes invited by the Care Leavers’ association will speak about
their experiences, and there will be an opportunity to discuss all the
morning’s contributions.

In the afternoon session, speakers from the local authority and
private sectors will address the question of the future of children’s homes. The number of children’s homes has
been greatly reduced, and they are smaller than in the past. There are those who
say that they should all be closed, but do they have a contribution to make?
Will they still have a role – or roles – in children’s services in the future,
and if so, what will they do? There will again be an opportunity for discussion
after the contributions of the speakers.

The afternoon speakers will be
Janice Nicholson
and Kevin Gallagher.

Janice Nicholson is North Yorkshire County
Council’s Group Manager for its No Wrong Door service. This model consists of
two hubs with a range of placements, support and services (including embedded
specialist roles – clinical psychology, speech and language therapy and a
police role) that wrap around troubled adolescents. Involved in the development
of the model since its inception, Janice is a committed advocate of creative
and flexible residential/edge of care support to keep young people within their
family or community and within North Yorkshire. She has led residential homes to
several ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgements and contributed to the development of award
winning services.

Kevin is the Chair and
Director of Amberleigh Care. Kevin has twenty years’ experience in the
management of a wide variety of residential child care services, including both
the public and private sectors. Currently he is Managing Director of Amberleigh
Care, which provides therapeutic care for young males with sexually harmful
behaviour. He is also Chair of the Consortium for Therapeutic
Communities. He sits on the advisory panel for a quality improvement network
(Community of Communities) at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is a
member of the Welsh Assembly Government “task and finish” Group for Residential

The Panel for the plenary discussion will consist of the two
afternoon speakers, Janice Nicholson and Kevin Gallagher, together with Jonathan Stanley,
Principal Partner of the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child

Child Care History Network

The Child Care History Network was set up in 2008 to provide a
forum for those who are concerned about the history of children’s services and
what can be learnt from studying the past, with a view to applying what has
been learnt to current services. CCHN seminars have covered many subjects,
including child migration to Canada and Australia, children’s records, and safeguarding
children. For further information see the CCHN

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