See below for a brief description of our contributors:
1. Aida Van der Pant holds a BSc in Health and Social Care, a diploma in Children and Young People’s Advocacy, and a certificate in European Children's Human Rights. Leveraging her personal experiences and 20 years of professional engagement, she has developed extensive knowledge in children's rights, advocacy, and mental health services. Currently serving as a Participation and Engagement Officer in the South East Region, she leads various Barnardo’s and government projects, maintaining collaborations with NGOs and government bodies to advocate for improvements in services for children and young people.
2. David Lee Jackson born into an impoverished family in 1964 and placed into care at an early age, has transformed his adversities into a powerful drive for self-improvement and social justice. Self-educated with an Honours Degree in Psychology and a Master’s in International Business, David has held public office, contributed to various charity boards, and campaigned actively for equality. With experience in the criminal justice system, he is a respected Planning Engineer in the Defence and Nuclear Energy sector. A dedicated mentor, David ensures individuals have the resources to realize their potential, particularly advocating for the care experienced. A recognized public speaker on care experience matters, David authored the highly acclaimed book 'Oi', a testament to his inspiring journey, which can be found on amazon at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1912183730.
3. Di Cook, a foster carer for over 32 years, has significantly impacted the lives of more than 60 children through long-term and short-term fostering, as well as fostering to adoption. A dedicated member of the National Association of Therapeutic Parents, she fervently works towards nurturing children into resilient, self-assured, and successful individuals. Besides her fostering endeavours, Di has also had a lasting presence in the Milton Keynes College Group since 1989, where she currently heads the Work Placements and Distance Learning sectors, combining her passion for child care with her commitment to education.