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Expressions of Self: Race, Religion and Representation of care-experienced children and young people


Nuffield Foundation



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PI and Project Team Members

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor

Alison Halford


  1. Maggie Jones, CVAA
  2. John Simmonds CoramBAAF
  3. Julie Wilkinson, ResearchinPractice
  4. Mohammed Bashir, Active Care Solutions
  5. Natalie Mills, Home for Good
  6. Paul Bywaters, University of Huddersfield
  7. Tim Davy, Redliff College
  8. Steve O'loughlin, CoramBAAF BMEPAC
  9. Tay Jiva, Independent Social Worker
  10. Joy Carter, Adoption Advocate and Care-Experienced
  11. Sonia Hamdani, Charity Worker, Inspirational Young Person and Care-Experienced
  12. Oliver Freiburg, DFE

Duration of Project

1 February 2022 - 31 July 2023 (18 months)

Project Overview

For looked-after children and young people from ‘minoritised’ backgrounds, having a home that offers security, stability and belonging can provide a space to negotiate the complexities of their circumstances and identities. However, there is a lack of data on looked-after children and young people that takes an intersectional approach, which, in addition to their ethnicity, acknowledges multiple dimensions of identity, such as age, gender, religion, sexuality and disability (Bywaters et al., 2020). To improve social care practice, greater understanding is required of children and young people’s negotiations between their multiple identities in different contexts. 

This research will work with Black, Asian and mixed-heritage children and young people (aged 14 to 19) to generate child-led narratives of their layered identities, focussing firstly on understandings of ethnicity and religion and how these intersect with other aspects of identity and, crucially, by being in adoptive or foster care. Secondly, the research will examine their experiences of asking and getting help from social workers, foster carers, adopters and other support structures that provide for their identities while in care.

By listening to and understanding children and young people’s perspectives around ethnicity, religion and identity, the research outcomes will inform multiple social care stakeholders about how they can best meet children's needs. In collaboration with practitioner partners, we will deliver training and policy development to inform social work practice and public understanding on how to respond to a more complex framing of the identities of looked-after children and young people from minoritised ethnic and religious-heritages.

End of Project Report

The end of Project Report 'Expressions of Self: Race, Religion and Representation of minoritised Children and young people in the British Care System' is now available to read and download.

Read Expressions of Self Report
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