Gender and Child Welfare Network Hold First Irish Conference at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Gender and Child Welfare Network, which is an international group of researchers and practitioners, will hold its fourth Interdisciplinary conference, and its first Irish conference, at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 15 June, 2011.

The network has organised three successful conferences previously on the relationship between gender and child welfare. This conference will focus specifically on the relationship between gender, child protection and family support.

The keynote speaker for the conference will be Norah Gibbons, Director of Advocacy with Barnardos. Ms Gibbons will be discussing her recent report on the Roscommon case, which highlighted the importance of understanding and working with gender issues in child protection and family support. In particular, the report noted that an assessment of the role of the father in such cases is very important. Generally, practices in child welfare can ignore the role of fathers, thus missing out on those who are at risk but also those who might be supporters in the family. Moreover, the focus on mothers can often be unfair in that they are expected to carry the burden of protecting children from violent or abusive men.

Conference organiser and Professor with the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, Professor Bríd Featherstone, said: “I am delighted that this event is taking place at NUI Galway and that such a distinguished group of speakers from so many countries will be contributing their insights on such an important topic.”

This conference brings together experts from the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Ireland to discuss their research in the following areas: working with men and women around domestic violence; training social workers to engage fathers; men in social work; working with mothers in case of child sexual abuse; new approaches to working with violence by children and young people; and working with fathers where a child has a disability.

For further information on the conference, or to register, visit www.conference.ie.

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