Hi! I am a retired social worker who worked for over 40 years with young people in care. I did loads of things – social worker, managing children’s homes, inspecting children’s services including secure children’s homes and secure training centres, as well as acting as an advocate for children in care.

I was in care many years ago and times have changed greatly since then. Children have many rights today that weren’t there when I was young. For example, when I was in care staff were allowed to be violent but this is against the law now.

What made me feel bad in those days was being hit by staff and being made to sit alone in a room on my own when other children were allowed to watch TV. Such treatment left me feeling worthless, unsafe, different and bad.

Only when I eventually met people who recognised me as an individual of worth, took an interest in my achievements, praised my successes and actually seemed to like me did I feel good about myself. Being treated as an individual and feeling safe and wanted were two of the most important things in helping me grow as a person.

Because of the support I got, I have enjoyed a happy life, happily married with a daughter and four grandkids.

I am not special. All children can live their dream – if they are cared for and supported!