I grew up in the care system in England from the age of 11, with Social service support ending at the age of 23, when I finished my degree. While finishing my agree I become a kinship carer for my younger brother. As a student I was a mentor for those still in care. After graduation I worked for a year at Sheffield Hallam University leading the Care Leaver project, aimed at getting more Care experienced young people into Higher Education. This included creating and running raising aspiration events for Looked After Children, providing transition support to Care Leaver students applying to study at university, providing advocacy and signposting and also attending regional and national conferences and networks to improve and share best practice of how to best support Looked After Children and Care Leavers. I moved on to my current role in February 2013 as Young Peoples Project Coordinator at The Care Leavers Association. I work directly with those at the leaving care age, up to the age of 30, to improve the current system and to support those going through the transition process. This includes advocacy, mentoring programs, helping to create national networks of best practice and consulting on issues affecting those leaving care.
I am a keen writer and have written for the Social Care Network of the Guardian Newspaper on a number of occasions, and also write a blog about my own experiences of being a Looked After Child/Care Leaver and issues concerning Care Leavers. I believe that positive stereotypes of Looked After Children and Care Leavers is key to changing the attitudes of the people working with these cohorts. So if you would like to share your experiences of the care system and/or your successes in life please get in touch.
I am a trustee for the Institute for the Recovery of Childhood Trauma, a charity dedicated to reduce the trauma and help recovery from childhood trauma, with specific interest with those who enter the care system. I sit on the board of Directors for the International Foster Care Organisation; IFCO promotes family-based solutions for out-of-home children based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child across the world. IFCO believes that foster care must be an inclusive teamwork effort between the carers, social workers, the placing agency, the birth parent(s), the child/young person and others who contribute to the child’s welfare.