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The CHA Conference

Care, shared: The collective practice conference for fostering and residential childcare

Thursday 12th October 2023, Friends Meeting House, Euston, London

Both residential and foster care provide life changing care for society’s most vulnerable children. But these vital and complimentary parts of the care continuum operate in silos. For the first time ever, and at a time of national sufficiency crisis, The Children’s Homes Association (CHA) and The Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP) have come together to create a joint conference that will explore cross cutting practice themes and facilitate a shared vision for children and young people throughout the care journey.

Join us to explore common ground in practice and share learning, through speaker sessions and workshop style sessions, as we respond to the changing needs of children and young people in care. 

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9.30am – Arrival and Registration

10am – Welcome from our chair Kathy Evans (Children England)

10.10am – Helen Oakwater:

‘The impact of past trauma on behaviour and how to move forward’

10.40am – Dr Mine Conkbayir:

‘How knowledge of neuroscience can help your work with children’

11.30am – Clair Davies MBE:

‘The essential components that can make care therapeutic’

Midday – Panel Discussion: Exploring shared themes in fostering and residential care.

12.30pm – 1.15pm Lunch and Networking

1.15pm – 3.25pm: WORKSHOP SESSIONS:

Workshop 1: De-escalation and restraint – Learn practical tools to prevent and de-escalate challenging situations safely, and reduce the need for restraint, its severity and duration. (Dr Jennifer Kilcoyne – Restraint Reduction Network Specialist Advisor for England)

Workshop 2: Missing from care – How can we safeguard vulnerable children and young people without over- involving the Police in their lives? (Alan Rhees-Cooper, Staff Officer to the National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Missing People)

3.30pm – Andy & Matt Smith

Hear from care-experienced brothers and now Directors of the award-winning ‘Smash Life’.

4.20pm – Closing remarks

About the speakers:


Clair has spent 30 years working with children who have been traumatised by abuse and neglect. In June 2020 she was awarded an MBE for her work with Apprenticeships and Traumatised Children. Clair champions the well-being of adults/parents knowing that this is vital for children to flourish. Clair is a consultant and trainer specialising in therapeutic approaches including ‘Therapeutic Parenting‘.


Helen is an International trainer and keynote speaker on adoption, fostering, parenting maltreated children, future proofing children and the challenges Facebook brings to adoption and fostering. She is author of “Bubble Wrapped Children: How social networking is transforming the face of 21st Century adoption” & Want to Adopt: How to prepare yourself to parent a child from the care system. Helen is the creator of Trauma Triggered Behaviour workshop, an NLP Trainer & mBIT Master Coach Executive & Personal NLP Coach working with ‘people who think big’ to achieve robust outcomes and delicious futures, using courage, compassion and humour. Helen has much experience at helping adult clients dump historical trauma and ‘crap’ (Charged Reactive Angry Particles) by creating a secure base to examine old hurts from a safe distance to get fresh perspectives and release stuck emotional responses.


Dr Mine Conkbayir is an award-winning author and trainer. She has worked in the field of early childhood education and care for over 20 years and co- authored Early Childhood Theories and Contemporary Issues (Bloomsbury, 2014) and Early Childhood and Neuroscience: Theory, Research and Implications for Practice, 2nd Edition (Bloomsbury, 2021). Mine’s work helps practitioners apply theoretical knowledge from neuroscience to inform their work with children.


Andy and Matt Smith are brothers and Directors of Smash Life who were abused “after” being placed by social services into the care system. After years of having to deal with the effects of their traumatic abuse the Smith brothers went on to have great success at university, employment, various sporting teams, numerous music projects and in life. Today their award-winning company provides inspirational talks, group work, mentoring and more to young people and professionals to help them ‘Smash Life’ too. Not only are Smash Life inspiring experts by experience, their presentations are grounded in evidence based practice.