The National Gathering will be held on Saturday 2nd February 2013. It will be held at the Manchester Friends Meeting House from 1pm. Join us from 1 for some lunch. The Gathering will start at 2pm. The gathering is open to all care leavers of all ages. This year the gathering will have a more social focus. It will be a chance to meet care leavers from accross the country. There will be some opportunities to take part in workshops and to have your say on a number of issues affecting care leavers. There will also be an opportunity to meet the CLA team and take part in the CLA Annual General Meeting.


Nominations for Trustees

Chairperson – Jim Goddard

I have been Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Care Leavers’ Association for the past two years and a Board member for the last ten years. I therefore have a long record of service to the CLA. I want to use the role of Chair to continue to help the CLA in its growth and development.

In particular, I have always been a strong believer in the CLA providing a voice for the widest possible range of care leaver experiences, so that we reflect the diversity of the care leaver population in the UK. This goal of being representative means that we must provide a safe place where all care leavers can feel welcome. I have proven, over the years, my commitment to providing such a space, one in which our policies are developed on the basis of discussion and mutual respect. I have also helped in the important work of promoting those policies to government and others who need to know what we think we are ever to get the improvements we seek.

I believe that I have the necessary skills and experience to continue to make a major contribution to fulfilling our mission. I have a proven commitment to ensuring that the CLA is guided at all times by what our members tell us and what we learn from our continuous work with them on a range of issues. I therefore hope that you will vote for me as Chair.

Treasurer – Daniel Hull

The reasons I am standing for this position are that I believe strongly in the CLA’s aims and objectives. I have been a member of the CLA for a number of years now and have seen how the CLA help Care Leavers. The CLA helped me on two occasions by giving me valuable work experience. And I would like to repay that with any help I can give the CLA.

I have a background in finance so I believe I can help with this aspect of the charities work. I have been on the board of trustees for two years now and like to believe I give a honest opinion from a financial prospective.

I have seen the CLA grow in the last few years from one employee to four employees and am excited about the organisations future. I am keen to see where the charities work in the criminal justice system goes.

Secretary – Chris Simpson

The charity is close to my heart as I spent nearly all of my childhood in care. I’ve been a member of the CLA for 10 years. I’ve been on the board since 2006 and have taken part in the decisions that have taken the CLA forward to where it is today. I have experience of the role of secretary as I’ve held the position on the CLA board for two years. I’ve experience of fundraising for the charity as I have been on the fundraising committee.

During previous National Care Leavers Weeks I have held events in my home town.  These have included having an information, and fundraising, stall in the Morrisons Centre. A stall in ASDA, and an annual, I’ve just completed my fourth, sponsored swim event at the local oceans gym raising £2000 in total. I’ve recruited several members locally and have had to liase with different organisations to set up local meetings. I have two chaired local group meetings.

I have experience of liasing with the local press and I have had several articles printed on topics about the CLA. These have included Access to Records, meeting my local M.P, local meetings and national careleavers week events.  I’ve also been interviewed on the local  bbc lincolnshire about care leaver issues and to talk about my own experiences of leaving care.

All my activities have given me the skills to speak publicly, organise events and chair local meetings. These are the reasons why I put myself forward for the executive committee.

Ordinary Members

Sue Myhan

I have been involved with the CLA for over 4 years, and became a trustee in November 2009. I feel that I have contributed in many ways towards the aims of the organisation.

I am very keen to help change the way in which the Care System looks after children and what is offered to these young people once they leave care.

I am particularly interested in Access to Records, as well as re-launching the newsletter. I also have a passion to bring careleavers together. We often hear so about historical abuse in the care system and bad experiences, which is sadly an all too common fact, and I am very passionate about those who have suffered, getting the help they may need to move forward. Also, on a more positive not, as an older careleaver, I am very interested in helping careleavers to get in touch with people they may have been in care with, or maybe even carers that they feel had a positive influence on their life.

As a trustee, I would hope to continue being involved in changes for the better, so careleavers can go on to live positive and productive lives.

Veronica Murtagh

I have now been a Trustee for 2 years and I have learnt a lot in that time.

It has been a very steep learning curve and I feel that I have only just begun to understand the complex issues involved in Care Provision and the transition of the Leaving Care Pathways. What stands out for me is the Post code lottery that dictates the quality of support on leaving Care, in particular the failure to address the emotional consequences of being in and leaving care. It is for this particular aspect of the difficulties faced when leaving Care that I would like to continue as a Trustee -To explore ways to enable Care Leavers to develop the emotional resilience we all need so that we can end the years we struggle to survive on leaving Care.

Keith Aitchinson

In Care 1977 > 1982

Committtee Experience: Have been on several different committees and most recent spell has been on CLA Executive committee since 2010.

I have various skills and have been chairperson of a charitable committee and also as a Vice Chairperson also. I have also got accounting skills, good person > person skills and have good listening skills as well. I have also helped out on fundraising committee for CLA as well. I also help out at a local food bank distributing food to needy on a voluntary basis.

John Cryer

My name is Jon Cryer, I am a University Lecturer (sociology – of sport) and a care survivor of the 1970’s. My experiences of 17 foster homes and two residential care settings have afforded me an insight and a personal legacy that only care leavers would appreciate, however, the encouragement to access further and higher education are rare experiences that too few looked after young people have been able to benefit from; and whilst personally occasionally still lost….. I am better able to understand my journey so far and some of the experiences of other more recent survivors of care.

These experiences have gently nudged me toward a research and teaching career in the context of the experiences of maginalised young people in the past 15 years and as I reach 50 it is perhaps time to convert these research and teaching interests into some form of tangible advocacy.

As a Yorkshire-man my advocacy approach is straightforward and often described as no-nonsense although equally described as principled and considered. My particular and most recent work is in the context of the potentials provided by looked after young peoples’ access and support in tertiary education; particularly in higher education. My other principal interest is in the education provision of young people in or at risk of custody.

Given my own journey, I consider working with and on behalf of care leavers (and soon to be) as a privilege.

Rosalinde Warzecha

I would like to partake in such an important organisation that represents those people who have spent at least part of their life in the Care system.  You will find me a forthright, hardworking and committed member who has good interpersonal and all round office skills as well as the ability to question and research.

As a person who spent all her childhood in a number of institutions, most of which were abusive, and as someone who had to bring up her family alone and educate herself as an adult without support, I would like to partake in an organisation that can either support Care leavers or can signpost them in the right direction.

I would like to begin to understand the needs of those individuals for whom being in care has in some way affected their adult experiences in order to identify gaps in support/services.

I would like to begin to help Social Care change the way they support children who are in danger of being placed in care or who are already in the care system, in the following way:

by gaining a better understanding of individual’s experiences who have gone through the care system of what does or does not work, in order to inform the care system of the future but also the social care experiences of the child before any decision is reached about their removal from their family home.

Donna Neill

I am 26 years-old and was in foster care in Northern Ireland from the age of 2 months.  I experienced 11 placement moves by the age of 15 when I was placed with a biological uncle.  During my childhood I never met any other young people in care and in my adult life have only met around 10 care leavers who have kindly helped with my research.  Being more involved with the CLA as a trustee will help me to understand a broader range of issues that affect care leavers (who are not a homogenous group).

I am currently studying for a PhD in law.  My research asks why very few young people in care use internal Local Authority complaints procedures.  This means I am well read in academic and policy work covering areas such as independent review, advocates, decision-making, participation, barriers to justice, outcomes for looked after children, the Care Leavers Act 2000, the Children Act 1989, and beyond.  I have been interviewing care leavers and practitioners as part of this research.  Academia has taught me to be organised, self-motivated and dedicated to tasks I undertake.  I have a strong legal background and I am keen to promote evidence based law and practice.  While my life in academia has been invaluable, I don’t feel it offers me the ability to have an impact on current policy/practice.  As a trustee of the CLA I would be able to offer my time and expertise to an organisation with which I share the same objectives.

Mark Kerr

As a care leaver I believe passionately in the work that the CLA does to support care leavers.  I am also an academic focusing on the experiences of looked after children and care leavers.  My work specifically looks at the outcomes in adulthood for care leavers in order to improve both policy and practice at a national and local government level.  I regularly work with organisations – both voluntary and statutory – as a consultant ensuring that research findings translate in to better practice.  Previous to my career in academia, I worked for a number of years in communications and still have business interests in this sector.

I believe my skills and expertise from my current and previous work experience will be of value to the CLA.  If I am successful in joining the board of trustees, alongside the existing members, I would like to advise and support the CLA in line with my expertise, specifically:

•           To assist in raising the profile of the organisation making it more visible to care leavers, government departments, local authorities and any organisations that work with care leavers.

•           To support the CLA in research activities – including ensuring the organisation is aware of research publications that are relevant to the activities of the operational staff.

•           To use my policy experience to work with the organisation to lobby for better support and recognition for care leavers throughout the life course.

Overall all I believe I can be an asset to the organisation and complement the existing trustees and staff.