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Lunchtime seminar with Lisa Merkel-Holguin, University of Colorado and Kempe Center

Transformative change in child welfare: an elusive quest for justice

Join us for a lunchtime seminar online with Lisa Merkel-Holguin, convenor of the annual Kempe Conference, on Transformative change in child welfare: an elusive quest for justice.

Lisa Merkel-Holguin will discuss how in the United States, Family Group Conferences (FGCs) – once embraced by public child welfare agencies with support from some family court leaders – have been replaced by other ‘family meeting’ models. Lisa will explain the concern that these models ‘process’ parents through professionally dominated and oppressive meetings, and that other oppressive structures may exist within child welfare administrative and policy mechanisms. The UK Government’s Children’s Social Care National Framework – which places emphasis on family decision making processes, as well as children’s social care working in partnership with family networks – will also be considered in this context.

This online seminar should be of interest to professionals who want better justice and fairness for families, and to those who support families’ rights to have their voices heard and to shape the decisions being made about their futures.

Watch the seminar


  • Headshot of Beverley Barnett-Jones
    Associate Director for Practice and Impact
    Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
  • Headshot of Lisa Merkel-Holguin
    Lisa Merkel-Holguin
    Associate Professor, Paediatrics
    University of Colorado