Child Care History Network Seminar

A seminar will be held on Wednesday 1 November 2017 at 10.30 a.m. at Hinsley Hall, 62, Headingley Lane, Leeds, LS6  2BX on Children’s Homes – What were they really like ? Have they a future ?

Aims of the Seminar

The twin aims of the day are to provide a realistic picture of what life was like in children’s homes in the past, and to develop a view about the potential for children’s homes to meet the needs of children and young people in the future.

The seminar will be of particular interest both to professionals who are working in, or managing, children’s homes, and to former residents.



The keynote speaker in the morning will be Peter Higginbotham, whose book Children’s Homes: A history of Britain’s institutional care for its young, has just been published.  In its 25 chapters it covers almost every type of residential children services from their early days in Tudor times, through the Victorian heyday of the big institutions and the twentieth century development of local authority homes up to the present day.

Peter is also an acknowledged expert on workhouses. He has published many books and articles, and his websites contain extensive details of workhouses and children’s homes. He has broadcast on radio and appeared on television frequently, most recently explaining about workhouses to Fearne Cotton in Who Do You Think You Are?

David Lane was a panel member in the recent Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland, which reported in January 2017, and he will speak about what has been learnt about children’s homes in the province during the Inquiry’s remit from 1922 to 1995.

David commenced his career with eight years working in residential child care and ended it with eight years as Director of Social Services in Wakefield. Since then he has acted as expert witness in more than eighty cases, which in the main related to former children in care alleging negligence by care providers. From 2012 he was a Panel Member in the Northern Ireland Inquiry, which published its ten-volume report in January this year.

A panel of former residents of children’s homes invited by the Care Leavers’ association will speak about their experiences, and there will be an opportunity to discuss all the morning’s contributions.

In the afternoon session, speakers from the local authority and private sectors will address the question of the future of children’s homes. The number of children’s homes has been greatly reduced, and they are smaller than in the past. There are those who say that they should all be closed, but do they have a contribution to make? Will they still have a role – or roles – in children’s services in the future, and if so, what will they do? There will again be an opportunity for discussion after the contributions of the speakers.

The afternoon speakers will be Janice Nicholson and Kevin Gallagher.

Janice Nicholson is North Yorkshire County Council’s Group Manager for its No Wrong Door service. This model consists of two hubs with a range of placements, support and services (including embedded specialist roles – clinical psychology, speech and language therapy and a police role) that wrap around troubled adolescents. Involved in the development of the model since its inception, Janice is a committed advocate of creative and flexible residential / edge of care support to keep young people within their family or community and within North Yorkshire. She has led residential homes to several ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgements and contributed to the development of award winning services.

Kevin is the Chair and Director of Amberleigh Care. Kevin has twenty years’ experience in the management of a wide variety of residential child care services, including both the public and private sectors. Currently he is Managing Director of Amberleigh Care, which provides therapeutic care for young males with sexually harmful behaviour. He is also Chair of the Consortium for Therapeutic Communities. He sits on the advisory panel for a quality improvement network (Community of Communities) at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is a member of the Welsh Assembly Government “task and finish” Group for Residential Childcare.

The Panel for the plenary discussion will consist of the two afternoon speakers, Janice Nicholson and Kevin Gallagher, together with Jonathan Stanley, Principal Partner of the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care.


Child Care History Network:

The Child Care History Network was set up in 2008 to provide a forum for those who are concerned about the history of children’s services and what can be learnt from studying the past, with a view to applying what has been learnt to current services. CCHN seminars have covered many subjects, including child migration to Canada and Australia, children’s records, and safeguarding children. For further information see the CCHN website:



10.00   Registration

10.45   Welcome by Jim Hyland, Chair of CCHN

Key speaker: Peter Higginbotham: The History of Children’s Homes

11.45   Second speaker: David Lane: Lessons from the Northern Ireland Inquiry concerning            the Historical Development of Residential Child Care

12.15   Care Leavers’ Association panel: The Experience of Living in Children’s Homes

12.45   Plenary discussion

13.15   Lunch

14.00   First speaker: Janice Nicholson: The Future for Children’s Homes: The LA Viewpoint

14.30   Second speaker: Kevin Gallagher: The Future for Children’s Homes: The       Independent Sector Viewpoint

15.00   Panel and plenary discussion: Janice Nicholson, Kevin Gallagher and Jonathan Stanley

15.45   Summary by Chair

16.00   Close


Hinsley Hall

The Hall is sited on the A660, Headingley Lane, in North-West Leeds. It is set back from the road, and there is parking on site. If coming by train, the simplest way to the Hall is by taxi from Leeds Station, which is 2 miles away. The Hall is also 6 miles from Leeds-Bradford Airport.

To book your place, please download and complete the application form.

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