Supporting families formed by adoption, care or guardianship and those who work with them, to support children separated from their birth families

This workshop will consider why the needs of children who are permanently separated from their birth families are complex and important to support. The workshop will review attachment theory and the impact of developmental trauma on childhood. The day will focus on the impact a disrupted childhood has on the school experience and how to develop resilience in children/families.

Provisional timetable
09:30 Registration/tea and coffee 
10:00 Workshop starts
12:30-13:00 Lunch
16:30 Workshop ends


This workshop will provide an insight into the experience of children who have been removed from their birth families and how important it is to understand their world, from the point of the child.  This leads to a greater understanding that all behaviour has meaning and that we must pay attention to this and how it can lead to better understanding of factors that are beyond the child and avoids only ‘within child’ accounts for complex behaviours.

This workshop will assist those who do not have a pure social work background to understand the legalities and complexities for children removed from their birth family. This can avoid a ‘blame culture’ developing within organisations as people begin to understand the roles of other professionals and how working together is best achieved.

Target audience

Anyone who is working with families where a child has been removed from their birth family.  Educational Psychologists, clinical psychologists, social workers, teachers, families (foster carers/adoptive parents/special guardians).

Learning outcomes and objectives

  • To be aware of the legalities and complexities surrounding children who are separated from their birth family.
  • To have reviewed attachment theory and be able to describe attachment theory.
  • To consider the concept of developmental trauma and describe how it impacts on childhood.
  • To reflect on the concept of resilience and how the development of resilience is supported.
  • To outline ways that children who have experienced a disrupted childhood can be supported at home and school.

Facilitator: Laura Dunstan CPsychol AFBPsS

Laura has delivered training events on this topic both locally and nationally to:

Carers and parents: Bracknell Forest Annual Foster Carer Conference, Local workshops when working for West Sussex local authority, Springboard Independent Fostering Agency, West Sussex and to Cabrini Adoption Agency, Hove.

Professionals: local workshops to Pan Sussex Educational Psychology Annual Conference, Division of Education and Child Psychologists BPS Annual Conference, Association of Educational Psychologists Annual Conference, British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Annual Conference, and Surrey Designated Teachers for LAC Annual Conference. 

Those in training: Annual session to Social Workers at University of Chichester, Annual session to trainee teachers at University of Chichester,

Annual session to Educational Psychologists in training on the doctorate course at UCL, and Annual session to learning mentors at University of Sussex.

Laura has Published in the DECP BPS ‘Debate’ journal on supporting adopted children at school (2011).

Booking information


  • Non-Society members: £138 (£115 + VAT)
  • Society members: £104 (£86.67 + VAT)
  • DECP members: £78 (£65 +VAT)
  • Concessions: £54 (£45 + VAT)

from 14 January 2013:

  • Non-Society members: £138 (£115 + VAT)
  • Society members: £104 (£86.67 + VAT)
  • DECP members: £90 (£75 +VAT)
  • Concessions: £62.50 (£52.08 + VAT)

Persons eligible for concessionary rates are student members of the Society, graduate members registered under Rule 15.ii (studying in the UK and not subject to income tax), Rule 21 (retired) members, and members who are unemployed. For evidence of unemployment, we will require a copy of your job seekers allowance book.

How to book:

Registration closes at 12:00 on 17 April 2013. 

Fri, 19/04/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925

Division of Educational and Child Psychology & BPS Learning Centre