AUTHOR and campaigner Jenny Molloy – whose book Hackney Child is a graphic account of growing up in the care system – works closely with the University of Huddersfield and her latest collaboration was a day-long conference that aimed to celebrate the achievements of residential child care in the UK.
Key government figures were among the speakers and a highlight of the event came when a team of drama students performed their own adaptation of episodes from Hackney Child, to the delight of author Jenny, who has helped to design social work modules taught at the University.
“The event was all about looking at residential child care in a positive light,” she said. “At times, it can undoubtedly be a very challenging backdrop for both staff and young people, but residential care has an enormous role to play in terms of responding to children’s needs.
“The day was all about the ways in which residential care can ensure that children have the warmth and security that can help to repair some of the hurt and trauma that they might have experienced.”
Celebrating Residential Child Care was attended by some 80 people – many of them social work professionals – from throughout the UK. They were welcomed by Dr Chris Gifford, Head of Department.
Contributors included Jonathan Stanley, of the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care; Almudera Lara, who is Head of Children in Care at the Department for Education; Paul D’Inverno, a senior figure at Ofsted; and Barrister in Public Law; Naomi Madderson.
Dr Bernard Gallagher, who is Reader in Social Work and Applied Social Sciences at the University of Huddersfield, spoke on aspects of therapeutic residential child care and Jenny Molloy herself gave readings from her books Hackney Child and led a round-table discussion. She also closed the day with an address entitled How will looked-after children know they are loveable if they do not receive love in care?.