Meet one of the members of our Experts by Experience Board

My name is Charmaine, I am 28 and from Bristol. I graduated with a masters degree in occupational psychology but have since come to realise that, although I am still interested in occupational psychology, my true passion lies in supporting underrepresented groups in society.

I recently set up a Community Interest Company called DiasporaEd which aims to provide learning resources in the form of e-learning, puzzles and colouring books based on positive African history. The target audience is black and dual heritage children in foster care and children’s homes across England and Wales. My motive for this came from understanding that the UK education curriculum primarily includes negative black history around slavery and activism. I believe it’s important for all of us to have role models in our lives and to be provided with the tools to help guide us.

The independent review of children’s social care caught my attention some time ago, and I have carried out a little research to help me understand exactly what issues the review aims to address. I understand that the review aims, and has the necessary scope, to reform the system and as a person who has been supported by the that system, I am really keen to be given the opportunity to contribute in this process. I believe that I can offer an insight from a care experienced point of view, along with my genuine interest in representing the voices of people that are largely unheard.

My hopes for the review are that it highlights the issues around support that young people get with a variety of factors including housing, opportunities in education and training and importantly, the quality of staff that support the young people. I have found that relationship building is central in the work of social workers and social care practitioners and when turnover and burn out is so prevalent, there is an inevitable knock on effect that ultimately impacts the young people.

I hope that the review brings about some well needed change in a system that effects thousands of people across the country and I hope that it finally highlights the issues that, for so long, have been largely overlooked.

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