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Jackie McCartney

Jackie has been a self-employed Ofsted registered childminder for over 20years. During her career she has provided emergency placements for looked after children, and supported families identified as needing extra support and care. She has been a Rees Ambassador since 2016. She has spoken publicly about spending her life from five to sixteen in institutional care, and the challenges she has faced as a care experienced adult searching for her rightful information at Wolverhampton University, Dudley Children’s Services practice week, The National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum, Action for Children, and at the Memory, Identity, Rights, Records and Access (MIRRA) project at University College London. Most recently, with the Rees Foundation and other care experienced adults she has made a video for care leavers and professionals about the impact of trying to piece together one’s life with missing gaps, redaction, no medical files, and years of missing files. She is one of the original Organisers of the first Birmingham Christmas Dinner 2017, publisher of the Corporate Parent Letter to Birmingham City Council about her life after leaving care post 16, and during the Care Experienced Conference 2019 at Hope University in Liverpool she was a member of the pastoral team. Jackie attended Your Life Your Story 2019. Her poetry has been published on the internet and in the first anthology of illustrated poetry ‘The Gift of Experience, The Truth Unwrapped’ published by Your Life Your Story in 2021.

Jackie is the mother of two successful children, wife and owner of Bertie, a cairn terrier.

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 Katrina Higgins Msc

Katrina Higgins is a former graduate and alumni of Coventry University where she completed an MSc Careers Guidance 2019 –Registered Career Guidance Practitioner 2016, with 28 years of employability information advice and guidance, within a range of welfare to work and education settings. An Independent Alumni Research Consultant commissioned by the Social Work Department at Coventry University funded by the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership 2021-2022 During her time at Coventry University Katrina also undertook Senior Course Representative and has written for the Career Development Institute Magazine June 2019 to highlight ‘The psychological and sociological barriers of care leavers in Careers Guidance, her area of specialism and lived experience 

Katrina is also. a Lived Experience Panel Member for the National Suicide Prevention Alliance since 2018 contributing to improving services for individuals needing to access support from health and social care. Current Career Coach for Career Matters delivering career guidance to care leavers and care experienced adults  

Recently selected for the Together for Change National panel, for the Trussell Trust November 2021. And recently selected as a Mentor for the Changemakers UK for mental health awareness as part of the Diana Award. Katrina is a PhD candidate for 2022 furthering her research and academic career in social sciences and is a member of a Black British Academics Network.

Katrina has a 22-year-old daughter, who has a successful career in property gained through an apprenticeship. In her spare time Katrina is part of a community gardeners’ group, assisting a group of volunteers maintain community and residential green space for their health and well being 

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Sally Peplow Msc

Sally is a Doctoral Academic Teacher and PhD Student within the Department of Psychology and Institute of Population Health at The University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on the link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and later-life health outcomes of children and young people cared for in child protection services. She has worked within Children’s Social Care in the UK for over 17 years. Although, as both of her parents spent their careers caring for looked after children, it has been an integral part of her life throughout. After gaining her undergraduate degree, she spent 4yrs working as an Assistant Psychologist under the direct supervision of Lead Clinical Psychologist, Dr George Harris, in Residential Children’s Homes, Supported Accommodation Services and Schools across England. Sally completed my BSc Hons in Psychology in 2017 (First-Class) and MSc in Psychological Research Methods in 2019 (Distinction) at Lancaster University. 

Dr George Harris Clinical Psychologist

Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr George Harris, fondly known as Dr is a Clinical Psychologist and Director of GH Psychology Ltd. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) Psychology from the University of Essex. Whilst completing his undergrad degree, he developed an interest in clinical psychology and psychological trauma (including Posttraumatic Growth). Following his graduation, he was employed by the NHS working with adults with mental health problems. Over the last 20 years he has worked extensively in children's social care and education and since 2017 he has supported Your Life Your Story.


Ian Ackley

Ian has over 25 years experience as a caregiver in various professional capacities ranging from practitioner to project manager plus over a further decade of voluntary experience in the sports sector as a youth coach amongst other things. He is passionate about building a trauma informed evidence based reflective practice model regarding engaging survivors of abuse and currently work as a survivor support advocate (S.S.A) in football. The project is jointly funded by the F.A and P.F.A so anyone who has suffered any sort of abuse in football can access the service. Having experienced abuse in football myself as a child I am well placed to support others through the often daunting and difficult landscape of the criminal and civil justice system. I first came forwards in 1994 regarding reporting my abuse and consequently waived my anonymity in 1997 some 25 years ago. I have since then campaigned for survivor rights and attempted to highlight the hidden pandemic of child abuse in the U.K. 


Shaunna Devine

Hey, I am Shaunna. I am 24 years old, and care experienced. I graduated in 2019 from Liverpool John Moores University with a First-Class degree in Psychology. I became one of the first care experienced person from my local authority to complete a Masters, graduating with a distinction in Brain and Behaviour (Neuroscience) Masters in 2020 from Liverpool John Moores University. I am currently undertaking a three-year PhD in psychology and neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores University, titled “Pathways to Social- Connectedness in Care Experienced People”. Alongside my PhD, I am a keen activist and advocate for children’s rights, I regularly support and campaign for children in care.

Lisa Hall 

Lisa started her career in residential childcare in 2001. She now teaches Childrens Homes Residential Care staff on a full time basis and part time completes quality assurance visits and drives therapeutic practice in childrens homes. Lisa spent 19 years working in childrens homes, some of this working with some high profile offenders,challenging behaviours,  CSE and HSB. Lisa worked with a group of professionals in 2003 to change the views of how children in care were treated when involved in CSE, she has also spoken out about what and how reports on children and young people are written. She has worked with and continues to work with traumatised children and young people, which she thorougly enjoys. In 2018 Lisa graduated from Wrexham University with a BA honours in Therapeutic Childcare.
Lisa has a network of professional peers she has maintained relationships with who are committed to making residential childcare a positive experience for children and young people and now works for a training provider delivering qualifications to residential childcare staff to improve the quality of care provided 

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