HMPPS and Catch 22 Conference – Working Together to Improve Outcomes for Care Leavers
November 9th, 2017 by Keisha Bhamra.
The HMPPS and Catch 22 conference was a great opportunity to learn more about care leavers and what this means for our work with those in prisons and the community, as a voluntary sector organisation. The opening keynote speech from Lisa Cherry particularly struck a chord, as she spoke about her experience as a care leaver, and the importance of being trauma informed in working to improve outcomes for care leavers.
Charlotte Weinberg, Executive Director of Safe Ground, ran a workshop at the event titled ‘Consider Yourself – what does care mean for looked after children?’ This workshop drew on Safe Ground’s experience of devising and delivering a programme for young men in HMYOI Brinsford over a period of five days. The group members all had experience of having been looked after in care, with some of the group being fathers. The workshop provided Charlotte with the opportunity to share her experience of working with care leavers, and how drama techniques were used to explore the paths their lives had taken, and the emotions they felt.
Placement student Paige had the chance, alongside this, to attend two other workshops facilitated by professionals in the care leaver’s field. These workshops were led by Richard Booty, Family and Significant Others Lead for HMPPS, and Lisa Cherry, a care leaver herself, whom works in Educational and Social Care settings. It was emphasised that prisoners without family or other support need to be helped to form relationships with peers on the inside or people on the outside. In addition, to lead a trauma informed approach, it is principal to tap into the staff with experiences of being a care leaver. In turn, this will enable prison staff to help prisoners with these experiences most effectively.
To conclude, the conference was a great opportunity to network with individuals from HMPPS and care leavers’ organisations, gaining contacts in new prisons of interest. Most importantly, the event was very informative about ways to improve outcomes for those looked after children, whom totalled 72,670 as of 31st March 2017.