Children's Commissioner lecture on childhood adversity

22 Jun 2012 15:36:20.987

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Childhood adversity will be the subject of a guest lecture by Dr Maggie Atkinson, the Children’s Commissioner for England, when she visits The University of Nottingham on Wednesday 27 June 2012.

Dr Atkinson’s lecture has been arranged by the University’sChildren and Childhood Network  and the Centre for Advanced Studies which conduct pioneering research into the lives of children and young people. They aim to improve understanding of children, childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, and to lead to better policy, services and outcomes, especially for very vulnerable children and their families.

The event, hosted by Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, is part of the launch ceremony for the Children and Childhood Network. This includes a seminar in the afternoon, “Two Faces of Childhood Adversity: Young Carers and Refugee Children”, and the Children’s Commissioner’s inaugural lecture in the evening. Dr Atkinson will focus on the plight of Childhood in Adversity. Nearly 300 people have booked to attend, including policy makers, professionals and academics from across the region and nationally.

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Dr Atkinson said: “As Children’s Commissioner for England my team and I promote the views of children and young people from birth onwards. In particular we want to give a voice to the vulnerable and those least likely to be heard. In my lecture I hope to highlight some of the issues the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) has looked at and how we should all be concerned about the lives of the most vulnerable children in our society.

“The OCC’s work has ranged from reports on the mental health of children and young people in the youth justice system to our School Exclusions Inquiry which for the first time had examples of illegal exclusions on the record.  

“Poverty is another key factor impacting upon childhood adversity which we have expressed concern about. As the four UK Children's Commissioners said last November and I repeated in January in a Child Rights Impact Assessment on the Welfare Reform Bill, conservative estimates show that the number of children living in poverty is likely to rise by over 100,000 a year to 3.8 million by 2020 - the Government's target date for eliminating child poverty in the UK.”

Research funding exceeds £30m

The Children and Childhood Network is led by Professor Saul Becker, Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy, and it represents one of the largest concentrations of expertise on children and childhood in the UK with research funding which now exceeds £30m.

The Network’s launch on Wednesday 27 June will bring together the combined knowledge and expertise of 100 leading academics in the field, drawn from 24 different schools, departments and research centres across the University. Their work focuses on children’s learning and development; child welfare, policy and law; family dynamics; health; and professional interventions.

Director, Professor Becker, said: “We are delighted to launch the Children and Childhood Network and to have the Children’s Commissioner for England as our inaugural guest lecturer. Nottingham has a long-standing international reputation for the quality and impact of its research on children and childhood. We intend to build on this further by delivering more world-changing research and education and training for professionals working with children. We want to help improve the lives, health and well-being of vulnerable children locally, nationally and globally.”

“Dr Atkinson’s role as the Children’s Commissioner is to put children at the heart of policy and to ensure they are seen and heard. Millions of children are being brought up in very difficult circumstances, in poor families, or where children have to take on caring roles for sick and disabled parents, or where children have their own illnesses or difficulties. We are privileged to have Dr Atkinson give our inaugural lecture on the state of childhood in adversity today.”

Millions of children face difficult family circumstances

The seminar will hear about pioneering research and encourage an exchange of ideas on young carers who have unpaid caring responsibilities in the home and children from refugee and asylum-seeking families who also often bear the brunt of very difficult family circumstances.

Children Facing Adversity is a key project within the University’s new appeal, Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, which is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. Find out more about our research and how you can support us at

The seminar takes place on Wednesday 27 June 2012 between 2pm and 4.30pm in the Senate Chamber at The University of Nottingham’s Trent Building on University Park. Dr Atkinson will give theinaugural guest lecture  at 5.30pm in the same venue. This is open to the public and admission is free.


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More information is available from Professor Saul Becker, at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 9514546 or 07970 861944
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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Published Date
Friday 18th February 2011

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