I am Elridge E. Bodkin, Reg to my family and friends.
I am a senior man of African-Caribbean heritage, with many years of working with children of all ages and their families in the social work, Children in Care setting.
I have been a foster parent and an adoptive parent. I was a residential group home manager for adolescents, and CEO of a social services and foster care (2 programmes) agency.
I have volunteered for 16 years reviewing permanency plans for children in foster care, because I wanted to make sure that the voices and wishes of children and young people were heard by their social workers, parents/birth family, and foster family alike.
I have provided direct in-home family counselling and parenting education, guidance and support, in the southern United States, where some young people I have worked with did not expect to see the age of 20 years. I have worked with families where young girls from a background of poverty and poor parental role modelling were victims of rape. I have also worked with 30-year-old grandparents, and have seen generational abuse of all kinds.
More recently I have worked with care experienced young people, aged 16 to 25, in a programme that assessed how local authorities, independent fostering agencies and independent residential group homes (some with education), directly involve young people in Care in developing and providing services to other children and young people in Care (Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).
I consider myself fortunate to have been able to volunteer in the Atlanta 1996 and London 2012 Olympic Games.
I currently volunteer as a performance coach in a south London academy with year 10 and 11 students at risk of exclusion.
I enjoy the arts, theatre, travel, and photography.