Leeds hosts experts in improving life chances for children

Leading experts are coming to Leeds to explain the best ways to make sure families can use the earliest part of children’s lives to make a positive impact, as well as preventing abuse, anti-social behaviour and violence.

At a conference being held at Leeds City Museum on Wednesday 2nd October, those who work with children and families are being invited to hear from nationally recognised experts about the latest research and best practice. They will also have a chance to link up with others working in the field to deliver the best for children in the Leeds.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council Executive Board Member for Health and Wellbeing said:

“Giving children the best start in life is a top commitment for Leeds City Council, and we know helping families in pregnancy and the first years of life will give them a much better start.

“We are absolutely committed to being at the forefront of good practice, making sure that Leeds is not only a child friendly city, but offers the best possible start for young people’s life, opening the door to better opportunities for them throughout their lives.”

Councillor Judith Blake, Deputy Leader and Executive Board Member for Children’s Services said:

“We have much to be proud of in Leeds. But we know that there is always more we can do and we are determined to invest in better outcomes for children and young people. At a time when we face significant financial challenges, it is vital to build on our current work and make sure we understand the best ways to deliver services effectively and offer families the support and guidance they need to make the most of their lives. It is not only the right thing to do, but if we make the best use of expert advice and best practice, it will make financial sense too.”

John Carnochan, a former Detective Chief Superintendent with Strathclyde Police who co-founded the Violence Reduction Unit in Scotland is one of the conference’s key speakers. He recently joined a team at St Andrews University, leading research into violence reduction and prevention strategies. He said:

“The most effective, efficient and sustainable prevention strategy is of prime importance, recognising the early years in a child’s life as being crucial to their future wellbeing, health and resilience; I believe that the most important years of a child’s life are up to age three.”

Leeds City Council has made a commitment to working to bring everyone together to make Leeds a child friendly city – a place where children are valued, supported, enjoy growing up, and look forward to a bright future.

Details of services and advice available are accessible through the children, families and carers section of the council website.


Notes to editors

The Best Start conference is taking place on Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 9.30 am to 3.30 pm, at Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, Leeds. It will be chaired by Councillors Lisa Mulherin and Judith Blake.

Featuring leading UK experts in infant neurodevelopment, attachment, early intervention and violence reduction, it will show why pregnancy and the first three years of life are the most critical and cost effective time to support families to prevent maltreatment, abuse, antisocial and violent behaviours.

Speakers include:

Sue Ranger, Consultant Clinical, Psychologist in Infant Mental Health. Sue Ranger has 25 years’ experience in the NHS working with infants, children and families, and since April 2012 has managed the new Infant Mental Health Service in Leeds.

Sarah Stewart-Brown, Chair of Public Health Medical School, University of Warwick - Sarah worked as a paediatrician and in Public Health before taking up a role in academia. Her research has been influential in the development of the national Healthy Child Programme, and current parenting support policy.

John Carnochan, former Detective Chief Superintendent with Strathclyde Police, co-founded the Violence Reduction Unit in Scotland. He recently joined the Public Health Medicine Team at St Andrews University, leading research into violence reduction and prevention strategies.

George Hoskings, Founder, Chief Executive and Research Coordinator of the WAVE Trust George is dedicated to ending violence by tackling its root causes: child abuse and neglect. As an economist, accountant, psychologist, criminologist, and traumatic stress counsellor he will present a compelling analysis of the importance of early intervention in pregnancy and within the first three years of life.

Robin Balbernie, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Clinical Director PIP (Parent Infant Partnerships) UK. For over a decade Robin worked with the Children’s Centres in Gloucestershire as clinical lead providing an infant mental health service, known locally as Secure Start. He is currently advisor to the Association of Infant Mental Health UK.

For interview requests or further information, contact:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team

Leeds City Council

e-mail: philip.morcom@leeds.gov.uk

Tel: 0772 227 5370

Fax: 0113 247 4736


Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335