Speakers

Speakers

Chathuri Jayasooriya is a child rights advocate and psychosocial practitioner with a special focus on alternative care of children.  She has been working in the field of child rights and wellbeing for 12 years, especially on child rights governance and psychosocial wellbeing. Her work primarily involves advocacy, networking, research, training and the provision of psychosocial support especially for children in residential care and family strengthening support to prevent child-family separation. She was instrumental in forming the 18+ Alliance of civil society and private sector agencies to build support systems for youth leaving care in Sri Lanka as well as the Generation Never Give-up (GNG) Network of care leavers, during her tenure with SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka. She currently works with SOS Children’s Villages International as the Advocacy Advisor-Asia, working with 11 countries in Asia to advocate for the provision of quality care for children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care.
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Dr. Wolfgang Schröer is a Professor at the Institute of Social Pedagogy and Organisation Studies, University of Hildesheim. His main research fields are: child and youth welfare, residential and foster care, care leaving, youth research and transitions to adulthood, transnational social exchange and support. He is the chairman of the consulting group in children and youth task for the German government.
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Dr. Kiran Modi is the founder managing Trustee of Udayan Care. She founded Udayan Care, in Delhi, India, in 1994, with the vision of ‘Making Young Lives Shine’, which runs group homes for orphaned and at-risk children, amongst many of its projects. With a doctorate in American Literature from IIT, Delhi, Dr. Modi is a person of varied experiences in diverse fields, such as child protection, media, health and children’s theatre. Besides running programmes for Alternative Care of ‘Out of Home Care’ children, education and Livelihood programmes for disadvantaged girls and youth, she is keenly interested in raising standards of care in Alternative Care, and has been organising trainings and research, and publishing papers on Child & Youth Care. She is Founder Editor of an international bi-annual journal on Alternative Care: ‘Institutionalised Children: Explorations and Beyond’ (ICEB). Besides her management responsibilities, she is a Mentor Mother to many children and youth, gicing them personalised care and attention. Recipient of many prestigious awards, Dr. Modi continues to strive towards ensuring the rights of the underprivileged children and youth with the same passion and zeal as when she started out more than two and a half decades ago.
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Ruth Wacuka is a care reform advocate with a focus on de-institutionalization, promoting positive mental health and ending voluntourism. She is a member of Kenya Society of Care Leavers. Ruth is trained in journalism and mass communications and uses her skills to advocate for the rights of children, inspired by her upbringing in residential care in Nairobi. Ruth is also a One Young World Social Justice Ambassador, a global community of young leaders across 196 countries each pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Eva Hidalgo is a Spanish student and care leaver. She was born in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She loves travelling and spending time with her friends in the city where she lives, Madrid. She also likes so much doing sport, so she practices boxing and she loves to go horse riding every weekend. She is about to finish her degree in Primary Education, but she is not sure if she wants to become a teacher. She doesn’t know yet what she wants to do when she ends up her studies at university, but she hopes she will find her way and passion in the very near future. She has been in SOS Villages Spain since she was 17 and she has contributed to the project “Prepare for Leaving Care” for two years. She has had the opportunity to attend some meetings related with this topic where she could meet wonderful young care leavers as her and fantastic professionals from the sector.
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Mark Riley , MSc, Alternative Care Consultant, Hope and Homes for Children, is an international child protection and international development consultant. Mark has been living in East Africa since 2010 working on child welfare reforms in Africa and more recently in Asia. He has worked with a wide range of actors including government ministries, foreign embassies, international organisations and private foundations. Mark’s work is focused on systems strengthening and child protection, with particular emphasis on de-institutionalisation and alternative family based care for children.
Mark authored the Uganda National Alternative Care Framework, the Child Policy for Uganda and undertook the 2012 study on institutional care in Uganda which prompted a significant emphasis and investment to address the high levels of children in institutional care in Uganda. More recently, Mark has been advising on alternative care and deinstitutionalization programs in the region and globally.
Since July 2016 Mark has been working for HHC supporting CINI in Jharkhand, India. The project in Jharkhand is demonstrating that robust and integrated ‘gatekeeping’ at community strengthens families and prevents unnecessary separation. Additionally the project is supporting a number of Child Care Institutions (CCI’s) in Jharkhand to develop community based and family based care services and transition away from residential care.
In addition to Mark’s work on care reform he helped establish a Uganda Care Leavers Network (Ugandan Care Leavers) to support children and young adults coming out of institutional care. The research carried out with Ugandan Care Leavers is documented in the report ‘The Uganda Care Leaver Experience (2019)’.
Before moving to East Africa in 2010, Mark worked for over 15 years working with the Welsh Assembly Government delivering both public and private consultancy and project management programs.

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Mark Riddell left local authority care in 1984 and spent years working with a range of organisations to campaign for better support for care leavers before training as a social worker in 1990. He was the Service Manager for children in care and leaving care at Trafford council until 2017. In 2015 Ofsted rated the Trafford’s quality of care leaver provision at the council as ‘outstanding’. Trafford was the first in the country to achieve this. In 2017 he received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for his outstanding contribution to children in care and care leavers. He was appointed as the National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers within the DfE. Previous to this he worked informally alongside the Children’s Minister Edward Timpson on the Care Leavers Strategy – Keep on Caring and the C&SW Act that introduced a new set of Corporate Parenting Duties, the consultation and publication of the local offer to care leavers and the PA duty to 25yrs for all care leavers. Mark also penned a book called The Cornflake Kid which about his time in the care system and subsequent travels around the world – including a chance casting in one of Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo movies.
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More Speaker Details coming soon!