We regularly run and participate in events to share knowledge, help develop new insights and ideas, and shape practice across the health, social services and criminal justice systems.
Information about some of our recent and upcoming events is provided here.
If you would like more details on any of these events, please contact us.
Pregnancy and early motherhood in the criminal justice system
This event will explore the impact of women’s dual contact with the criminal justice system and children’s social care while pregnant or in the first two years of their child’s life. Birth Companions' Head of Policy and Communications, Kirsty Kitchen, will speak about our recent work spotlighting the intersections between these systems, and our new Birth Charter for women with involvement from children’s social care. This online event will be hosted by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) England Criminal Justice Group. Find out more and register for the event here.
Closing the Gaps in Perinatal Mental Health Services Digital Conference
The Closing the Gaps in Perinatal Mental Health Services digital conference focused on embedding perinatal mental health and wider services into the heart of communities, ensuring all families receive timely and effective help. Leaders and experts-by experience, across perinatal and maternity services, mental health, social services, and the third sector focused on early intervention and holistic perinatal mental health support. Specialist services for those facing multiple adversities such as poverty, substance misuse, and domestic abuse discussed how to tailor support for vulnerable women, and Birth Companions' Kirsty Kitchen joined a panel discussion on supporting families facing multiple adversities and the removal of a child.
The King's Fund: Putting a spotlight on women’s health - Addressing disparities in access, experience and quality of care for women
The King's Fund's first ever event focusing on women's health brought together those working in the health and care system to find practical solutions to the experiences women have, both in terms of their access to and experience of the health and care system, and disparities in outcomes. Partners from across the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, local government, and organisations across the health and care system came together at this exciting event to discuss and explore opportunities to embed women’s voices more deeply in the system. Naomi Delap, Birth Companions' Director, joined a panel for a session looking at the unequal picture of women’s health. Find out more about this in person event here.
Launch event: Birth Charter for women with involvement from children's social care
4th July 2023
Our launch event for our new Birth Charter for women with involvement from children's social care was attended by professionals from across the women's sector, health, social care, family law and the criminal justice system, as well as mothers who had contributed their lived experience to the development of the Charter. Speakers at the event included Andrew Powell (Family Law Barrister, 4PB), Isabelle Trowler (Chief Social Worker for Children and Families), HHJ Madeleine Reardon (Family Court Judge), Rachel Drain (Quality and Standards Advisor, Royal College of Midwives), Members of the Birth Companions Lived Experience Team, Kirsty Kitchen (Head of Policy & Communications, Birth Companions) and Naomi Delap (Director, Birth Companions). Many thanks to 4PB Family Law Barristers who hosted our launch event at their Chambers.
Anna Freud Centre: Applying attachment theory in the criminal justice system
15th June 2023
This webinar provided an opportunity to hear about attachment theory and critiques of it, its relevance to mothers in the criminal justice system, and what it means for practitioners working in the Early Years in England. Kirsty Kitchen, Birth Companions' Head of Policy and Communications, presented and joined a discussion and Q&A with other speakers from the Anna Freud Centre and NHS Mental Health Services. Content included the infant-caregiver relationship, perinatal mental health, equivalence of care, and how attachment and mentalization-based theory can be used both in prisons and in communities. Find out more about the event here.
Understanding women’s lived experience of children’s social care proceedings during pregnancy and early motherhood: A virtual learning event
2nd May 2023
Birth Companions hosted this virtual learning event, to share key findings from our recent project for the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance’s Maternity Consortium, which explored the impact of children’s social care involvement on women’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. This project focused on understanding women’s lived experiences of children’s social care involvement during pregnancy and the first two years of their child’s life, in order to help shape national and local policymaking and delivery. Read our Insight Report from this project here, and watch the recording of the event here.
Perinatal Mental Health Digital Conference
18th April 2023
The Perinatal Mental Health Digital Conference aimed to raise awareness of perinatal mental health and share best practice and the latest expertise from leaders and expert practitioners across perinatal and maternity services, mental health, social services, and the third sector. Kirsty Kitchen, Birth Companions' Head of Policy and Communications presented at this event, exploring how we can provide better care for mothers that are facing multiple adversities including poverty, substance misuse, and contact with children’s social care or the criminal justice system. Kirsty's talk was followed by a live Q&A session. Find out more about the Conference, and explore options to access recordings here.
University of East Anglia: Perinatal care in the prison environment
22nd March 2023
Birth Companions' Head of Engagement, Kate Chivers, gave a talk for midwifery students at the University of East Anglia, on caring for women through pregnancy, birth and early motherhood within the prison environment.
Birth Companions’ International Women’s Day 2023 lunchtime film screening
8th March 2023
To mark International Women's Day 2023, Birth Companions hosted a free online lunchtime screening of The Ants and the Grasshopper. This inspiring documentary from Raj Patel and Zak Piper highlights the ways in which women, Black and Indigenous people, and other communities facing poverty, racism and oppression bear the brunt of the climate crisis, while also holding effective solutions to it. The film looks at the impact of environmental pollution on women’s ability to conceive, birth and parent their children in safe and sustainable communities, and demonstrates how climate, gender and reproductive justice are tied together. Find out more about the film, and other ways to view it, here.
University of Hertfordshire: Trauma-Informed Care of Perinatal Women and how we came to work in a Trauma-Informed way at Birth Companions
9th February 2023
Birth Companions' Director, Naomi Delap, and Head of Services, Denise Marshall, led a live online session as part of the Complex Social Issues in Maternity Care post-registration midwifery module at the University of Hertfordshire. The session looked at the principles of trauma-informed care, discussed trauma-informed care for women during the perinatal period, and reflected on the development of Birth Companions' own trauma-informed approach to supporting women through pregnancy, birth and early motherhood.
Maternal Mental Health Alliance event with The Princess of Wales
9th November 2022
Two members of Birth Companions' Lived Experience Team joined our Engagement Manager, Kate Chivers, and colleagues from the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and Home-Start, for The Princess of Wales' visit to Colham Manor Children’s Centre in Hillingdon, West London. The Princess spent time with new mothers and our Lived Experience Team members, hearing about their experiences of mental health and how integrated and holistic services make a real difference to so many mothers and families. We're honoured to have been invited to take part in this visit, and to have had the opportunity for our LET members to share their experiences in this way. We thank The Princess for taking the time to explore these important issues with us.
FiLiA 2022: Why are pregnant women in prison?
23rd October 2022
Birth Companions' Head of Policy and Communications, Kirsty Kitchen, joined Dr Geraldine Brown and Dr Rona Epstein at the FiLiA 2022 conference in Cardiff, for a panel discussion on their recent research into the reasons that pregnant women are in prison. The panel looked at the results from this research, the impacts of race, class and age on women's imprisonment, and the pervasive health inequalities present in our society and prisons.
One Small Thing (OST) Live South
16th June 2022
Birth Companions' Community Services Manager, Rubi Rodriguez Nieto, and Dr Lucy Baldwin from De Montfort University were expert guest speakers at this in-person One Small Thing event in Cambridge in June. This event brought together insights from experts, personal stories, and the sharing of ideas and practice relating to trauma informed and gender responsive approaches.
Principles of care for women who have involvement from children’s social services during pregnancy and up to their child’s second birthday
An Association of Child Protection Professionals Lunch & Learn event
16th June 2022
At this event Kirsty Kitchen, Birth Companions’ Head of Policy and Communications, gathered insight from members of the Association of Child Protection Professionals (AoCPP) to inform the development of a new Birth Charter for women who have involvement from children’s social services during pregnancy or before their child’s second birthday. The event focused on a number of key issues, including the nature of pre-birth work and urgent hearings in the immediate postnatal period.
ReproFest 2022: Reproductive justice, health and rights
Birth Companions took part in this in-person event in Preston in April, organised by the Centre for Child & Family Justice (CFJ). The event was hosted as a way to hear and tell others about a wide range of topics related to reproductive health and decisions, including experience of child removal, pregnancy and birth in prison, consent, contraception and much more. Find out more about the event here.
Rebuilding the future: Putting babies and children first
Blackpool Better Start Annual Conference 2021
Birth Companions hosted a session at the Blackpool Better Start Annual Conference ‘Rebuilding the future: putting babies and children first’. We explored the intersections between criminal justice and children’s social services during pregnancy and early motherhood, and were delighted to be joined by Becky Wray and Joanne Mulcahy from PACT to hear about their social work pilot in women’s prisons. You can watch our session, and other sessions from the day, here.
Mothers on Trial: Exploring the intersections between criminal justice and children's social care during pregnancy and early motherhood
Birth Companions and the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University hosted this online workshop to explore the intersections between the criminal justice system and children’s social care during pregnancy and early motherhood. The event brought together front-line professionals, women with lived experience, commissioners, academics and policymakers to discuss the potential for restoring and renewing holistic approaches to work with pregnant women and mothers of infants on the ‘edge of care’ and those subject to pre-birth assessments and newborn care proceedings who also have CJS involvement. We hosted a number of breakout discussions on specific issues, including the value of pre-birth specialism, the opportunities provided by the new probation services, and priorities within the prison system. Recordings, slides and other resources from this event are now open and accessible for all, via this dedicated webpage.
Pre-birth social work: The value of specialism
Part of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) 80/20 campaign
Birth Companions’ Head of Policy and Communications Kirsty Kitchen shared insights and recommendations on the value of pre-birth specialism in children’s social care, alongside powerful contributions on the lived experience of newborn removal by Angela Frazer-Wicks. This event was held online as part of British Association of Social Workers (BASW)’s ongoing 80/20 campaign for more relationship-based social work. A recording of the event is available on request.
Pre-birth work and infant care proceedings in the prison environment
Kirsty Kitchen, Head of Policy and Communications, spoke alongside academics Lucy Baldwin and Caroline Bald on the specific challenges to working effectively with pregnant women and mothers of infants subject to care proceedings while in prison. This event was hosted by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW)'s Black Country branch.
Report launch: A window of opportunity
Birth Companions co-hosted this online event with our partners at Clinks to launch our joint research report on the experiences and needs of pregnant women and new mothers in contact with the criminal justice system in the community in England. Our Director Naomi Delap and Head of Policy and Communications Kirsty Kitchen were joined by Anne Fox and Zahra Wynne of Clinks and Kate Davies CBE, Director of Health and Justice at NHS England to discuss the report’s key findings and recommendations. Read the report here.
Disrupted Lives: #ChooseToChallenge Maternal Imprisonment
International Women’s Day 2021 event
Birth Companions and Clean Break co-hosted this special online International Women’s Day event to challenge the sentencing of pregnant women and mothers of young children.
The evening event included moving performances from Clean Break’s plays and a panel discussion exploring the issues relating to maternal imprisonment, championing women’s resilience through adversity, and opening up conversations around how we can all help drive positive change.
Hosted by Lorraine Maher, Clean Break’s Participation Manager, the panel included:
• Tanya Tracey, Deputy Chair at Clean Break;
• Dr Shona Minson, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford;
• Naomi Delap, Director at Birth Companions;
• Michelle, a member of the Birth Companions Lived Experience Team.
Pregnancy and early motherhood in the prison environment: Considering mental health
Kirsty Kitchen, our Head of Policy and Communications, spoke at a national conference for the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Quality Network for Prison Mental Health Services.
What Good Looks Like: A national partnership approach to supporting those in prison at risk of self-harm and suicide
A virtual conference organised by NHS England and Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to share learnings and consider implications for practice, bringing health and HMPPS together. Kirsty Kitchen, Birth Companions’ Head of Policy and Communications, led a breakout session on pregnancy and early motherhood in the prison environment.