2 Feb 2011

From the 15 – 16 February, The Children's Society will be holding a private consultation at St George's House, Windsor Castle, to discuss the role of the family in society today. The event, titled 'The Family Business' will bring together academics, agony aunts, media representatives, pressure groups, practitioners and religious leaders.

A challenging time for families

Every day there are new reports that highlight the risks children face, the pressures on families in economic hardship and the struggles parents face in raising children in such challenging times.

When does support become interference?

The Children's Society has always sought to enable the voice and experiences of children to be heard in public debate and we recognise that children more often than not live in families who want to do the best for them, but sometimes need extra support and guidance. But when does support become interference? When is guidance more a demand? Over the two days we will be debating and discussing some of these difficult issues aided by presentations from participants.

On the first day we will hear from Elissa da Costa, a barrister specialising in family law and mediation who will give a perspective on the effectiveness of the court system in resolving family conflict.  Our evening dinner will include further discussion on the well-being of children facilitated by research findings commissioned by The Children's Society.

Personal stories from young people

The second day will begin with a session involving four young people from one of our projects. These young people aged from 14-17 have all experienced being in care or in receipt of intensive intervention in their families from social services and other agencies. Their personal stories will give us an insight into what it really means to be in the care of the state and how families are still important even when they seem to fail.

Our final session after coffee on the second day will be led by Dr Tess Ridge from the University of Bath who will draw on considerable research into the impact of poverty on families and how children themselves cope with poverty.

More information about our consultation participants

Read the biographies of our event participants.