Conferences and Seminars

Grandparents Plus organises a range of summits, conferences and seminars relevant for kinship carers, professionals, decision-makers and a wider audience.

24 March 2015 – South West Kinship Care Event for Professionals

Organised by UK charity, Grandparents Plus, the event will be held on:
Tuesday 24 March 2015 at Devonport Guildhall, Ker Street, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 4ELfrom 9.30am until 4.00pm

The day will include talks from local kinship carers and representatives from Devon and Cornwall Children’s Services as well as the chance to attend two workshops for professionals led by David Roth, Kinship Care Service Development Manager, Grandparents Plus.

The event is suitable for social workers, public service professionals and others working with kinship carers. The event is offered at a special rate of £35.00 which includes lunch, refreshments and a free copy of The Kinship Care Guide for England, Second Edition (normal price £9.95 per copy).

Please email or call Alana on 0208 981 8001 for more details or to book a place. Places are limited and must be booked in advance so please do register as soon as possible. Unfortunately we will not be able to accommodate those who turn up on the day without prior booking.

The workshops on the day will be:

1. Good practice in working with kinship carers
This workshop will consider:
• The local policy requirement
• What kinship carers say about the problems they face
• How the legal framework and information from research can assist in this work
• Supporting kinship placements to succeed
• Dilemmas facing professionals who work with kinship carers.

2. Good practice with kinship placements: the process of assessment, decisions about support and practice challenges
This workshop will consider:
• Different types of assessment and how to approach them
• Supporting kinship placements to succeed
• Dilemmas facing professionals who work with kinship carers.


11 February 2015 – Relative Experience, Speaking Out for Kinship Care Event, Middlesbrough.

The conference was run by the Relative Experience Team alongside the Houses of Parliament Outreach Service. The conference aimed to raise awareness of the issues and challenges facing kinship carers and included workshops which focussed on equipping kinship carers with the knowledge of how to formulate action plans to successfully influence local and national policy and practice.

Over 60 kinship carers and representatives from 14 organisations attended the event and heard from various speakers with Cllr David Budd, Deputy Mayor for Middlesbrough opening the conference.


15 July 2014 – #timetocare Summit

Over 50 kinship carers from across England and Wales attended a summit in Westminster with the Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson MP and other MPs and Peers to challenge the Government on their treatment of kinship carers who are bringing up children as a result of extremely difficult family circumstances.

More details of our #timetocare campaign can be found here.


3rd April 2014 – Colloque Grandparentalité en Europe: enjeux sociétaux au 21eme siècle

Thursday 3rd April 2014, Paris 75007 Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian. Karen Glaser, Reader in Gerontology at King’s College London, presented the results of a 3 year research project across 12 EU countries. Leading gerontologist and sociologist Claudine Attias-Donfut also discussed the role of EU grandparents in childcare.

Across Europe grandparents are playing a major role in providing care for their grandchildren, with over 40% of grandparents in the 11 European countries studied providing childcare for their grandchildren.  The risk is an emerging care gap as older women remain in work longer, become less available to provide childcare and so adversely affect mothers’ labour market participation.

Paris programme3Avril2014
Grandparentalite en Europe- sommaire


21 October 2013 – The Michael Young Family and Kinship Memorial Lecture

The Michael Young Family and Kinship Memorial Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine by Lord Peter Hennessy, one of the country’s foremost historians. The theme of the lecture was Meritocracy Revisited which looked back at the predictions and insights of our co-founder Michael Young’s famous 1958 work The Rise of the Meritocracy.

Following the lecture, a lively Q&A session took place which was chaired by leading commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on a panel that also included Grandparents Plus co-founder Jean Stogdon OBE, with an audience of leading academics, journalists, social workers and charity professionals.

You can watch Lord Peter Hennessy’s lecture below, or if you would like the lecture followed by the Q&A session please follow the link below the video.  You can also download transcript of the lecture.


11 September 2013 – Families Left Behind

Held in the House of Commons and chaired by Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP, this was a joint event with prisoners’ family charity, PACT, this event considered the experiences of people who care for prisoners’ children and considered how best to ensure that children whose parents are sent to prison are given the care and support they need.


20 June 2013 – Kinship Care Ministerial Summit

We hosted a summit with Children’s Minister Edward Timpson MP and also with Shadow Children’s Minister, Lisa Nandy MP in Westminster on 20th June.  It gave kinship carers the opportunity to speak directly to senior politicians and talk to them about their experiences and the experiences of the children they care for. The Summit also provided the opportunity for young people who had been brought up in kinship care to have their voices heard too.

At the Summit the Minister undertook to write to all local authorities emphasising the importance of meeting their obligations under the statutory guidance.  He also committed the Department to producing an information pack for kinship carers and training sessions for local authorities.  Speaking on behalf of Grandparents Plus, Sam Smethers, Chief Executive welcomed the progress and said that the charity is keen to work with the department to deliver it.


6 June 2013 – Kinship Care: the First Choice for Children

Rising numbers of care applications continue to place ever growing pressure on children’s services.  When a child cannot live with their parents the Children Act (1989) requires that the first step should be to consider placing within their wider family when that is consistent with their welfare. Yet despite statutory guidance on family and friends care, practice varies across local authorities.

Grandparents Plus partnered with Neil Stewart Associates to host this major kinship care conference which brought together leading national and international experts on kinship care to address some of these challenges. You can watch the conference here

Download presentations:


6 June 2013 – Inaugural Kinship Care Awards

Grandparents Plus and Neil Stewart Associates held the Inaugural Kinship Care Awards in central London on 6th June.   We are delighted to announce our winners:

  • Local Authority of the YearSunderland City Council
  • Social Worker of the YearNorma Barnes, London Borough of Islington
  • Legal Champion of the YearNigel Priestley, Ridley and Hall Solicitors
  • Political Champion of the YearBaroness Massey of Darwen
  • Media Champion of the YearYvonne Roberts, Leader Writer, the Observer
  • Social Media Campaigner of the YearCathy Ashley, Family Rights Group
  • Kinship Campaigner of the Year Shelly James, Kinship Foster Carers Group
  • Researcher of the YearJoan Hunt, University of Oxford
  • Employer of the YearDavid Lench, Ward and Partners, Arun Estates
  • Support Group Leader of the YearShelly James, the Kinship Foster Carers Group
  • Lifetime Achievement AwardJoint winners: Jean Stogdon, Co-founder and Co-Chair, Grandparents Plus and Hedi Argent, Independent author and consultant.


15 March 2013 – Grandparenting in Europe launch event

This conference will mark the completion of a major study by Grandparents Plus, Kings College London Institute of Gerontology, the Beth Johnson Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation comparing grandparenting across 12 EU countries.

This event is invitation only but to find out more email us at You can read more about the research here.


June 2012 – Month of Action on Kinship Care

Throughout June, kinship carers accross the country organised local events, met politicians and made media appearances to call for more support for the children they are raising.

Find out more here

28 June 2012 – How do British Grandparents compare with the rest of Europe?

Preliminary findings from the Grandparenting in Europe project
Grandparents Plus hosted a seminar in partnership with the European Parliament London Outreach Office and King’s College London Institute of Gerontology to launch the preliminary findings of the Grandparenting in Europe research project.

Read the press release here


12 June 2012 – National Summit for Family and Friends Carers

Grandparents Plus held a summit for 40 kinship carers to meet with local and national politicians at Westminster. The summit was held on behalf of the Kinship Care Alliance as part of the Month of Action on Kinship Care. The summit was attended by Tim Loughton MP – Minister for Children and Families, Cllr David Simmonds – Chair of the LGA Children and Young People’s Board and several lead Council members with responsibility for children’s services.

Read Tim Loughton speech to kinship carers here.

View a summary of recommendations from the kinship carers who attended here

To see photographs from the day click here

Key quotes from the day:

“I’ve learnt more today in an hour than I have done in years as a Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.” Cllr Peter Lake, Kent CC.

“We should not promote adoption ahead of kinship care” David Simmonds, LGA.

“There is a determination in the room to make the system better for the next generation of children” Sam Smethers, Grandparents Plus.

“You’ve given me the confidence to challenge decisions made about my grandchild” grandparent carer.

16April 2012 – Seminar: Balancing work and informal care for older workers
Grandparents Plus and Working Families held a seminar on Balancing Work and Informal Care for Older Workers.

Speakers and presentations:

  • Ryan Shorthouse, Researcher, Social Market Foundation

New research shows that older people play a major role in providing childcare, with almost two thirds of grandparents helping out. 50% of grandparents with grandchildren under 16 are under the age of 65.

With the state pension age set to rise, increasing numbers of grandparents will be expected to stay in work until they reach 67 years old or older. Grandmothers especially will be under  pressure to juggle work and care, with rising childcare costs and falling real family budgets meaning that more parents are likely to turn to their parents for help with childcare. An ageing population is also likely to increase the number of older relatives needing help.

Possible outcomes could be grandmothers leaving the workforce to play informal caring roles, or mothers who give up work because grandmothers are no longer available to provide childcare. What are the implications for employers and families? What policy responses are needed to prevent an emerging crisis and women leaving the labour market to care?


29 July 2011 – Too Old To Care
“Too Old To Care? Improving support for family and friends carers” This Kinship Care Conference launched our Too Old to Care Report focusing on the experiences of older grandparents and other relatives who are raising children who cannot be looked after by their parents. Tim Loughton, Minister for Children and Families spoke at the event which was sponsored by Comic Relief.

Spotlight Seminar Series – exploring the reasons why grandparents and other family members step in to care for children, this series will hear from some of the leading experts in their fields.

14 July 2011 – “Imprisonment and Kinship care: the forgotten families of the criminal justice system” Grandparents Plus and Action for Prisoners’ Families held seminar to discuss the impact of parental imprisonment on their children and the wider family who often step in to care for them.

2 February 2011 – Seminar
Our first Seminar focused on how parental alcohol and substance misuse impacts on kinship carers and the children they are looking after. Research we released at the event highlighted the 140,000 kinship carers affected in this way. Invited speakers from Adfam, Mentor UK, The Children’s Society, and a grandparent carer led discussions at the event also attended by professionals from the sector, opening a valuable and thought-provoking dialogue.

To download Andrew Brown’s (Mentor UK) Seminar presentation please click the link below.

You can download the Seminar briefing papers here.

More information on Mentor UK’s EU Kinship Carers Project is available from their website.

In conjunction with our first Seminar event The Sun newspaper highlighted the issue of parental substance misuse and its effect on kinship care, with a feature article. Click here to read the article.


Grandparents Plus teamed up with a number of partners in the family policy and social care sectors to deliver a party conference programme at the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative Party conferences this year.  You can find details via the links below.

The Family Room is a coalition of 15 different family policy charities, co-ordinated by the Family and Parenting Institute.  You can download the programme here.

The Care Receptions are being hosted by Carers UK and 20 other care organisations, including Grandparents Plus.  You can find details here. You can download presentation ‘Is all fair in kinship care?’ by Jean Stogdon by following link at bottom of page.

17 November 2010 – Community Care Conference
Grandparents Plus Chair, Jean Stogdon spoke at the Community Care conference, Children and Families Live. You can download a copy of her speech below.


28 October 2010 – Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Network National Day and Lobby of Parliament.
For the second year running 120 grandparents and family and friends carers together with over 100 children descended on Westminster from over 40 constituencies across the country. An event for family and friends carers was also organised at the Scottish Parliament on the same day. You can read more about the event here and back the campaign here.


8 June 2010 – Michael Young Memorial Lecture delivered by historian David Kynaston, author of Family Britain.  The event also saw the publication of a new scoping study on Grandparenting in Europe which has been produced by the Institute of Gerontology at Kings College London for Grandaprents Plus and the Beth Johnson Foundation, funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. You can download a copy of the report here.


2 March 2010 Report Launch and Panel Debate
Grandparents Plus and the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched Protect, Support Provide: examining the role of grandparents in families at risk of poverty – the final report from our Poverty Project.  Panellists speaking at the event included DWP representatives from each of the main parties: Helen Goodman MP representing the Goverment, Andrew Selous MP for the Conservatives and Steve Webb MP for the Lib Dems. The event was chaired by EHRC commissioner, Kay Carberry. You can download a copy of the report here.


24 November 09 Kinship Care Conference
Grandparents Plus and the Care Matters Partnership held a major conference on kinship care. You can download copies of the presentations here.


28 October 09 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren National Day&Lobby of Parliament
On behalf of the Kinship Care Alliance Grandparents Plus organised a lobby of parliament for grandparents and other family and friends carers. You can read more about the campaign here.


23 March 09 Rethinking Family Life Report Launch
Anne Begg MP hosted the launch of our Rethinking Family Life report in parliament in March. Speakers included Rt Hon Baroness Hollis of Heigham, Maria Miller MP, Stephen Burke of Counsel and Care and grandparent carer Julian Wootton alongside Sam Smethers our Chief Executive. The report and other materials can be downloaded here.


20 January 09 Rethinking Family Life Policy Seminar
In January 2009 Grandparents Plus held a stakeholder policy seminar to consider new research on the role of grandparents in family life. You can download a copy of the presentations below.