Why are care-experienced children and young people over criminalised, and how can we better support them? This session explores the reasons behind the unnecessary criminalisation of vulnerable young people and how a joined up approach from social workers, foster carers, kinship carers, lawyers and advocates can help end it. 

We will be looking at concepts like adultification and its impact in bringing looked after children and young people into contact with the criminal justice system. We will also be learning about the response from Local Authorities to the production of the Dare to Care report by the Youth Justice Legal Centre, as well as discussions on the impact of the Lammy Review, and the national protocol on reducing unnecessary criminalisation of looked after children and care leavers (DFE and MoJ, 2018).

We are delighted to welcome the Drive Forward Foundation's policy forum to this event who will be providing their lived experience perspective on these topics in discussions with Dr. Laura Janes, Will Kerridge and Kate Aubrey Johnson.

The Dare to Care guide was produced by the Youth Justice Legal Centre to support criminal lawyers in representing care-experienced children and young adults to understand the relevant legal framework, reduce unnecessary criminalisation and achieve better outcomes. This session will look at how the findings of this guide could benefit social work practitioners, foster carers, kinship carers and anybody working with vulnerable children or young people.


Augusta Itua, Legal Consultant, CoramBAAF

Augusta joined CoramBAAF in April 2023 and job-shares with Alexandra Conroy Harris, assisting with our advice line and service delivery for our members. Augusta qualified as a youth justice lawyer, providing holistic legal representation to children and young adults with complex needs. 


Kate Aubrey-Johnson, Founder & Director at Childs Rights and Youth Justice (CRYJ)

Dr. Laura Janes, Consultant Solicitor at Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd and GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates.

Laura is a solicitor specialising in prison law, criminal appeals, community care, mental health and public law. She has particular expertise in representing children, young adults and vulnerable people in detention in both penal and mental health settings. Laura teaches at South Bank University in the Law department. She was awarded a professional doctorate in youth justice at the University of Bedfordshire in 2014.

She co-wrote Dare to Care, a guide for lawyers representing care experienced children and young adults in the criminal justice system, with Kate Aubrey-Johnson and in consultation with the policy forum at Drive Forward.

Will Kerridge, Political Engagement, and Policy Officer, Drive Forward Foundation

In his role at Drive Forward, Will supports, facilitates and collaborates with the Policy Forum members to campaign for issues close to their hearts as they advocate for improvement in services and policies that affect care-experienced people. Will has a background as a children and families social worker and holds a masters in Social Work alongside a degree in Anthropology and he firmly believes in the power of research and policy to tackle societal inequalities and create a more equitable future.

Drive Forward Policy Forum

Drive Forward facilitates a Policy Forum of care-experienced campaigners who use their lived experience to fight for change so that future children in care and care leavers get a better deal. Their mission is to bridge the disconnect between care-experienced young people and policy makers in order to achieve effective change and equality of opportunity for care leavers.

Policy Forum members have met with a range of local and national politicians and policy makers including Secretaries of State and the Leader of the Opposition. The group also seeks to collaborate with care-experienced peers whenever possible and has worked with young people from Catch 22’s young people’s benchmarking forum, Who Cares? Scotland, VOYPIC, Voices from Care Cymru, EPIC and Leaders Unlocked.