Following an open expression of interest process the review has now established an Experts by Experience Board. We received 1,011 applications to join the Board, and the panel, chaired by Josh, assessed every application received against the criteria we included in our Expression of Interest document – which you can read here.
The Board will help guide us on our approach to hearing the voices of children, young people, adults and families throughout the review – and its members all have lived experience of children’s social care.
I am Care Experienced and the Founding CEO of The Transformed You, providing Intervention and Support Mentoring Programmes to help transform the lives and raise the aspirations of Children and Young People In Care and Care Leavers, identified as having behaviour, emotional and social difficulties. Working closely with commissioning Local Authorities, we also help present the ‘Voice’ of our Mentees, advocating for the necessary changes required to improve their outcomes and life chances. I am also the Chair for The Black Care Experience, bringing together the Stories of those who are Black and are or have been in Care, to help improve the care experience for the next Black and In Care Generation. I sincerely welcome the opportunity of being a part of the Experts by Experience Board, using my skills, experience and insight to help level up the Care experiences and outcomes for all.
I am a founding member of the National Association of Young People In Care – the first fully funded organisation run by and for young people in care. I was also on the board of the Children’s Legal Centre as well the steering group Black and In Care. I have been described as a ‘trailblazer’ in children’s rights movement
I am the author of a Report called ‘Sharing Care’ which I took to the Select Committee chaired by Renee Short (1983). Described as “highly influential” by the Parliamentary Committee on Children in Care the 40-page report, with its concluding children’s charter was said to be ‘methodical, comprehensive and representative of an increasing number of children in care’ who are “becoming vocal in expressing their views”.
‘Sharing Care’ and the policies developed by listening to young people in care themselves shaped the 1989 Children’s Act. It’s the first time we see race, gender issues and child sex abuse evidenced.
I also produced the first videos where young people in and ex care presented their views and showed their creativity. ‘Black and In Care’ was a pivotal film which has impacted profoundly on social policy. ‘Speak Out’ is the first video to lay out to professionals and public that care experienced people are experts in their own care. That they should by law be “involved in the decisions that affect their lives”.
I am Helen Bell, a mum of 3 and have been in recovery for almost 5 years. I have lived experience of Trevi and I am a facilitator of The Freedom programme. In addition, I have been an Expert by Experience to help train social workers. My passion is for vulnerable women who are mothers, to believe they can succeed with compassionate care and investment – this was the main drive behind my application to the Care Review Experts by Experience Group.
I’ve been a passionate campaigner for Care Experienced people my entire adult life. Professionally, I have helped the University of York develop sector-leading Care Leaver support. In my personal life, I deliver corporate parenting training, share professional knowledge, and challenge injustice where I see it – most recently working with the Perinatal Institute to change the maternity process and guidance to make it better for Care Experienced people. I look forward to working with the review team to make a meaningful difference to the lives of our children because, like many people, I don’t think the current system delivers what children need: love.
I am a Trustee of the charity Family Rights Group and a founding member of their parents’ panel, which comprises parents with lived experience of the Child Welfare and Family Justice System.
My eldest two children were adopted in 2004 after a very long and fraught battle with my local authority. I was recently reunited with my eldest son, now a young adult and I now live in Norfolk with my husband and young daughter. I regularly speak about my experiences to social workers and other practitioners, in the hope that it will highlight issues facing families and be a catalyst to positive change. I have campaigned for many years to have the voices of families heard within the system and have helped set up family panels within local authorities.
I am co-chair of the Cafcass Learning and Improvement Board, which was set up following the Ministry of Justice’s Expert Report on ‘Harm in the family courts’. I am also a member of the stakeholder advisory group of the Care Crisis Review and sit on the BASW 80/20 Steering Group, the Advisory Board for the Born into Care study and the Cafcass Family Forum.
I am determined to use my experiences to help shape the way families are heard within the Care Review and to ensure that they are properly supported throughout.
I began campaigning as a 14-year-old when I joined the Essex Who Cares? Group. After leaving care I helped set up Who Cares? Magazine and was part of Black and in Care & The National Association of Young People In Care where I worked as development officer. I have used my position within the media to address care issues and I am often called on to debate care issues on TV & radio. I have trained thousands of social work students all over the UK & abroad.
My name is Rhiannon, I have a lot of past care experiences with foster placements and children’s homes, and I want to help make being cared for better for the children that are now in the situation I was in a few years ago. I have a job as a carer but really want to get a job with Sunderland TFC, I live on my own and have a new puppy called Darla. My favourite animals are 100% horses though. My biggest achievements are getting my own flat and also getting onto this group, as there were over a thousand applications.
I am a mother of four, including an adoptive parent, grandmother, teacher and foster carer. I live in London having lived internationally. Beyond my teaching career and being from a large family I have always been passionate about making a difference having questioned the fairness of any and everything for as long as I can remember. The children’s social care review is a dream opportunity for me to be part of change and to share my varied perspectives through my ever-evolving adoption and fostering journey.
I am wholly committed to being part of the Experts by Experience Group because I not only have over a decade of direct experience, but also vested interest to participate in this once in a generation opportunity to be part of a change which recognises the absolute need that exists and the imperative desire for improvement.
My passion and values are purpose!
Hello, I’m Mags. I live in a van which my brother helped me build, our next project is a boat! I have supported my siblings through our care experiences, and for the last 5 years I have been a children and families social worker. I am also a community organiser and help coordinate various grassroots projects looking to build resilient, caring and connected communities.
I applied to join the independent review’s Experts by Experience Board as I want to bring my personal and professional experience to bear, to create a system that provides more stability, consistency and love for children.
My Name is Asif Salarzai, and I am 19 years old living in Thurrock. I have been a member of local Children in Care Council for over three years as well as recently elected ambassador for A National, Coram, Voice.
As a care experienced myself, I want our voices and experiences to be the forefront of not only discussions about us, but in forcing the change the care system needs for better, throughout the review.
I am Foster Carer and I live in Kent I have been a foster carer for 5 years, prior to that, I was a police officer for 20 Years. My time as a Custody Sergeant and working with Police Protection Orders was what led me to a career in fostering. I am also a trustee and committee member of a charity, the Kent Foster Care Association, which works to professionalise the role of a foster carer, we work to support the carer, the children in their care and the whole extended families.
I am a true believer in advocating for children and all those involved in the care of the child. I always put the child at the centre of all I do. I am excited to be part of the review and hope it will provide some innovative approaches to be adopted in the future.
I am a passionate and driven young man who has grown up in the care system from the age of 4 years old. Although I have been through many struggles, like many I use these experiences to reach out to the most disengaged and help to empower them to fulfil their full potentials (pain to positivity). My core values are around ‘creative empowerment’, creativity is the hook, and the empowerment is the message underneath it.
I have been featured on a variety of platforms in regards to some of the work I have done, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and nominated for awards, such as the Waltham Forest council leaders awards.
I am on a mission to open up an empowerment centre to help bring together all the skills, knowledge and people on this journey and then help to build an environment that creatively empowers people to go for their dreams and helps to grow amazing communities that nourish future generations to come.
You can access minutes of previous meetings here: