“Toxic” childhoods to be discussed at Northamptonshire children’s charity conference at Althorp

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A conference to tackle the problem of children suffering a “toxic childhood” is to be held at Althorp House on Saturday.

The event is being organised by Northampton charity KidsAid and will bring together head teachers, social workers and family lawyers in the county to work out ways to improve child mental health.

At least three in ten children have some form of anxiety, emotional distress or behavioural problems, according to government statistics (ONS). However, cyber-bullying, peer pressure and exam stress are thought to push that number even higher.

At the ‘Voice of The Child’ conference on November 7, a line-up of professionals from law, social work and education will consider the best way to help children.

Lord and Lady Spencer have donated the use of Althorp House for the event and will host the speakers and delegates. Lady Spencer is KidsAid’s patron and supports its work to provide therapy to children suffering from difficult emotions or traumatic experiences.

One of the country’s Supreme Court judges, Lord Wilson and the head of the British Medical Association will be keynote speakers. Other experts in child welfare will also appear.

Professor Dieter Wolke is a world renowned expert in bullying, Dr Martin Newman is a specialist in the impact of bereavement and Shelagh Beckett an expert on sibling attachment.

Lisa Cherry, once a ‘looked after’ child in Rushden (and now an author who trains social workers) and Eunice Lumsden, Head of Early Years at the University of Northampton will discuss life in the county’s care system.

Matt Bartlett is travelling from the U.S to describe the work of the New Haven treatment centre for girls, to consider the best ways to help those with facing complex issues. Any professionals interested in attending the event can contact the charity via the website, www.kidsaid.org.uk