The Centre for Research on Families and Children, based at the UEA, annual conference being held at Woburn House in London June 27th 2019 is


‘Complexity and Challenge: a triennial analysis of serious case reviews 2014-2017’.


The conference provides a rare opportunity to hear and discuss the findings from this influential, newly published DfE funded study carried out by Prof Marian Brandon and her team from CRCF and Prof Peter Sidebotham and his team from Warwick University. The study aimed to understand the key issues, themes and challenges for practitioners and agencies arising from these cases of child death or serious harm arising from abuse or neglect.


The context of complexity and challenge provides an underlying theme to the 368 SCRs from 2014-17. As we looked into the reviews we were struck by the complexity of the lives of these children and families and the challenges - at times quite overwhelming - faced by the practitioners seeking to support them in such complexity. The conference will present an overview of the reviews and new learning with a special focus on neglect, vulnerable adolescents and care and court cases. The implications for practitioners and agencies from this new learning will be discussed.


Project team: Prof Marian Brandon, Prof Jonathan Dickens, Dr Penny Sorensen, Dr Pippa Belderson (University of East Anglia) and Prof Peter Sidebotham, Dr Joanna Garstang, Dr Hedy Cleaver, Dr Julie Harris, Dr Russell Wate (Warwick University).


The subsidised fee is £35 per person, which includes lunch and refreshments

Book your place here:

or to request an invoice for payment please email


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CRCF Conference June 22nd 2018

Woburn House, London.

Outcomes of care proceedings for children before and after care proceedings reform 

This research project has been examining the operation of care proceedings and the outcomes for children subject to them, before and after the PLO reforms – the reduction of care proceedings to 26 weeks. Information was collected on proceedings brought by six local authorities (five in England and one in Wales), randomly sampled from two periods, 2009-10 and 2014-15. There are 616 children in total, 290 in Sample 1 and 326 in Sample 2. 

The researchers, from the Universities of Bristol and East Anglia, looked at court records, local authority case files, and administrative data on children in need and children looked after by the local authorities. These data allow us to compare proceedings and orders under the two regimes, and to examine what happened to the children subsequently in terms of implementation of care plans, continuation of placements and any further proceedings. There were also interviews with 52 local authority staff to get a picture of the policy and practice issues, and two focus groups with judges.  

Our analysis provides important new findings on the impact of court processes on children’s social care, and on the children subject to them, including when and how care plans were achieved, and the well-being of the children involved.  

This conference will provide an opportunity to hear and discuss the findings from this important study. It will focus on the messages for local authorities, how policy and practice can be developed to promote the well-being of the children.

Project team: Prof Judith Masson, Dr Ludivine Garside, Kay Bader (University of Bristol), Prof Jonathan Dickens and Julie Young (University of East Anglia).