Mark Riddell MBE, the DfE’s National Implementation Advisor for care leavers, talks about his time in care and the skills he feels care leavers have to offer.

Article is on the Drive Forward website.

“Getting through the system was tough and at times led me down some very challenging roads. One of those roads was using solvents to escape from the emotional things, mostly related to the death of my mother and the feeling of loss. Fortunately, as I approached 16, new roads emerged with better opportunities.One of those was meeting the manager of the last children’s home I lived in, Alex. His approach was firm but fair.  He was a firm believer in never giving up on someone.

His response to my bad behaviour one weekend became a turning point in my life. I had been using solvents and I began to smash up windows in the children’s home with a hammer.  I was taken to the police cells overnight and when I was bailed, I went and packed my stuff into black bags and got ready to go into custody.  But Alex said: “You are going nowhere – this is your home”.  That changed my whole life.  I stopped using solvents and I got the other young people to stop using them, too.  Alex gave me another chance and that is why I am where I am today.”

Read the full article here.