Faith in the Care System: Addressing the Diverse Needs of Children
Second Annual Faith and Peaceful Relations Conference
Co-hosted by the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR), Coventry University & the Coram-BAAF
In the context of Social Work, faith - both religious and non-religious - remains an under researched and inadequately understood aspect of children’s identities. Children’s beliefs influence their care needs, aspirations and perceptions of family and community life. Research evidence suggests that depending on a child’s particular circumstances faith can either strengthen their sense of self-worth and resilience or it can inhibit it, reducing a child’s confidence in his or her decisions. In either case, faith can impact on a child’s ability or not to form positive attachments with its carers. In order to improve outcomes for all children, it is imperative that researchers, social work professionals, carers and parents better understand the impact that faith can have on children’s lives and desires. This conference will create a forum where exiting new research, current best practice and everyday lived experience of faith in the lives of looked-after children can be discussed and better understood.
The Faith and Peaceful Relations (FPR) Research Group at CTPSR explores the role religion can play in achieving more peaceful and just societies. Faith can be a driver of social justice, yet it can also be a source of exclusion and misunderstanding. We are currently leading a project (funded by the charity Penny Appeal and in collaboration with Coram-BAAF) to examine the experiences of Muslim children in the British care system. Following on the success of the first FPR conference on Islam and Peaceful relations we are excited to collaborate with Coram-BAAF on the second FPR conference which will examine the impact of children’s diverse faith and belief positionalities on their journey’s through the British Care System.
This conference is an opportunity for academics, professionals and carers to come together to share expertise, experiences and good practice of caring for and addressing the needs of children from diverse religious and non-religious faiths. We invite proposals for papers, panel discussions, workshops, poster presentations and other contributions from academic scholars, social work and care professionals, adoptive and foster parents, legal experts, community activists and from those who experienced the care system. The conference will explore themes including:
• Theological and sociological discussions around adoption, fostering and caring for vulnerable children
• Faith and its impact on outcomes for children
• Impact of religious or non-religious belief on children’s identities
• Intersectionality in children identity and impact of this on outcomes for children
• Social work best practice around issues of faith and care
• Issues of contemporary significance including for example the care of unaccompanied asylum seekers
• Legal perspectives / considerations of religion or belief in care
Plenary Speaker: Dr John Simmonds OBE, Director of Policy, Research & Development, Coram-BAAF
John is a qualified social worker and until his appointment at BAAF was the Programme Coordinator for social work programmes at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has been involved in consultancy and training to social workers and social work organisations throughout his career. He has published many articles and chapters in books and was the co-editor of 'Direct Work with Children' published by BAAF/Batsford in 1988. He is the adoptive father of two children.
• A registration fee of £30 will apply for all speakers and delegates.
• A reduced fee of £20 will apply for students, representatives of voluntary organisations, adoptive parents, foster carers and those not in paid employment.
• Further details about the registration process will be circulated and posted on the CTPSR website by July 2017.
Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (firstname.lastname@example.org), Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University and Savita de Sousa (Savita.deSousa@Corambaaf.org.uk) Coram BAAF