Graham Gaskin

Dr Rosie Canning and Dr Jim Goddard discuss the life and importance of Graham Gaskin in relation to accessing social care files. It is not widely known, amongst people who grew up in care before 1989, that we owe our rights to access our child care files to a fellow care leaver. That’s why this this short account was written for Care Experienced History Month.

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National Gathering & AGM

This year The Care Leavers Associaiton will hold its National Gathering and AGM on Saturday 23rd March. The event will be held at Esea Contemprary, 13 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1EU. You are invited to join us for some lunch at 1:30 for a 2pm start. The theme for this year is Care Leavers Connected and we will provide updates on the status of our new project aimed at connecting care leavers over 25. There will also be an opportunity to contribute to focus group discussions about the direction of the project. We will also hold the Annual General Meeting for the charity which will give a general update on… Read More

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Become a Trustee of The Care Leavers Association

Have you ever considered becoming a Trustee of The Care Leavers Association (CLA)? Like most charities, we have two groups of people responsible for what we do. The first is the staff, who do the work. The second is the Board of Trustees. This is made up of volunteers. It sets the direction for the charity and oversees the work of the staff. The first thing you need to be a trustee of the CLA is to have been in care (in foster care or a children’s home or other forms of care) as a child. That makes us unique among charities in the UK. We welcome people on the… Read More

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Suicidal Thoughts Research

We are working together with Cambridge University to research mental health needs of young people with social care involvement. As part of this work, we are looking at the support provided to young people who have suicidal thoughts. We are trying to learn more about the experiences of suicidal thoughts and self-harm among adults with a history of social care involvement to better understand how services can adapt to better meet the needs of social care-experienced young people who are experiencing self-harm or suicidal thoughts. We would love for you to help us if you: 1. Are between 18-30 years old 2. Have had experience of social care involvement before… Read More

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New Year Honour for our National Director

On Saturday it was announced that David Graham, who has been National Director of The Care Leavers Association (CLA) since 2010, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List. David’s award is richly merited. The official notification records that the award is ‘For services for care leavers’. This clearly reflects David’s hard work, commitment and steadiness throughout his years with the CLA. It also reflects his immense resourcefulness in helping us achieve so much in that time with relatively meagre resources. This includes the years of the pandemic, which were very challenging for us as well as for many others. And for the last 18 months David… Read More

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Hundreds of Children die in care!

Figures released to the Times reveal that 450 of the UK’s most vulnerable have died over the past decade The government has refused to ban care placements for 16 to 17-year-olds in “unregulated” settings. The government has revealed that 450 of the UK’s most vulnerable children have died in care over the last decade, including 50 that were housed in controversial unregulated accommodation. Figures released to The Times through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show that 400 “looked after” under-18s died in regulated care placements between 2011 and 2021 — a figure that amounts to 130 deaths per 100,000 children in care. That is more than 16 times higher than… Read More

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Ian Dickson

By David Graham (National Director) of The Care Leavers Association The recent death of Ian Dickson, a long-term campaigner for improvements in support for looked after children and care leavers, has prompted a plethora of memories from those who knew him. I decided to write this appreciation of Ian in order to reflect on, and record, our relationship with him over many years. I wanted to add to the record my perspective on some of the varied ways in which Ian’s positive impact affected people around him. Ever since Ian first joined the Care Leavers Association, many years ago, he has always remained supportive and encouraging of our work. Such… Read More

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National Gathering 2022

This year The Care Leavers Association will be holding its National Gathering and AGM on Saturday 19th of November in Manchester. I am pleased to be able to announce that we will be joined by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Donna Ludford. The reason we asked the Lord Mayor to come along is that she grew up in care in Manchester, so she is a fellow care leaver. Donna became the Mayor of the city in May of this year and she has been very open about her background in care. She went into care at the age of six months and lived in twenty different homes, either foster… Read More

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Review of Children’s Social Care

On the 23rd May the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care published its long awaited final report. Overall we are disappointed with the final conclusions of the review. Whilst we support some of the recommendations the review has missed the opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of young people in care and care leavers. You can read our initial thoughts on the report at the bottom of this page. This is based on discussions with the trustees and staff team. The report is very lengthy and it has a number of supporting documents. We intend to produce a more detailed response in the coming months. The government has up to… Read More

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