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I'm lucky, says Lucy, BA

Lucy Smith, a 23-year-old from Poole in Dorset, is one of the lucky ones.

Since going into care at13, she has lived in only two foster homes. She is still living with her second set of foster parents.

"I'm very close to them, and have a lot of respect for them," she said.

"They don't need loads of compliments, they just get on with it. Compared to a lot of people I know who grew up in care, I am very fortunate. The stability has had a big impact on my education."

Unlike so many children in care she went to only one secondary school, Poole high, where she passed eight GCSEs at grade C or above, and three A-levels. She went on to gain a degree in sociology and criminal justice studies at Plymouth university. "If other young people in care were treated like me, they would be able to succeed in just the same way," she said.

Ms Smith is now chair of the board of directors of A National Voice, a charity run by people who grew up in care. She also runs a project funded by the Fostering Network to train young people from care to act as inspectors of social services for looked-after children.

"I think it's right to give people in care more control over their lives,"

she says. "All young people these days are under a lot of pressure."

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