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'Understanding the Real Cost of Deepening Poverty for Children - can we remain hopeful and helpful? '

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Understanding the Real Cost of Deepening Poverty for Children - can we remain hopeful and helpful?


Monday, 13 March 2023, 9.30 am – 1.30 pm by Zoom


This conference will examine the real cost of deepening poverty for children and families within the Family Justice System – the challenge of balancing ‘need’ and ‘risk’ in our assessments of children and families.  This could be the deepest squeeze on living standards in the UK in over a century.  The number of families living in absolute poverty is set to rise significantly and persistently.  Certain groups, including single parents and minority communities, are likely to be affected disproportionately.


We will examine the real cost of poverty for children as a moral issue, a matter of justice, and as a legitimate matter for social work practice including:


  • Evidence based links between persistent poverty and child abuse and neglect and the need to understanding local trends and data
  • Regional variations
  • Inequality  - the social, developmental and psychological impacts 
  • Familes with no recourse to public funds
  • Evidence based practice
  • Inadequate incomes - data about the increasing number of parents finding difficulty in meeting their children’s basic needs
  • The danger of conflating need and risk (implications for social work training)
  • Social work fear of being overwhelmed and losing sight of the child


Conference Chair: Sir James Munby, Chair, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory,

former President of the Family Division


These highly experienced presenters will challenge our thinking from differing perspectives:


Professor Brid Featherstone, School of Human and Health Sciences Huddersfield University and Professor Anna Gupta, School of Social Work, Royal Holloway will present an overview of their research into how inequalities are systematically linked to social structures and social position rather than random variations.  They will also examine how better to include the perspectives of children in poverty into research.

Alison Garnham, CEO of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) - the strong and trusted voice in the charity sector, will set the parameters for a discussion on the current position regarding child poverty.

Helen Flynn, Head of Policy at  will argue that social work should maintain a strong focus on socio-economic rights, seeking to drive social change in communities from a rights-based perspective. 

Abi Brunswick, Director of Project 17 will describe the Project's work to end destitution among migrant children and their families who often have NRPF status. 

Dr Helen Stewart, Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health will tell us about recent evidence demonstrating that children living in poverty in the UK are more likely to have poorer health outcomes and inequalities.

Ravi Mahey, Director in the Child Care and Family Department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors will reflect on the challenges for family lawyers as a result of the economic crisis.

The Conference will attract 4 CPD hours and be of interest to academics, barristers, solicitors, family court advisers, children’s guardians, independent social workers, local authority social workers, family support workers and mediators, judges, administrators, magistrates, social workers, mental health workers, researchers and IROs.

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