Expressions of Self: Race, Religion and Representation of minoritised children and young people in the British Care System

Research output: Book/ReportOther reportpeer-review


This research report draws on original research to explore how care-experienced children and young people from minoritised backgrounds understand their identities. Through their narratives, we understand how children in care experience and perceive their identities, as well as their understandings of the care that they receive and desire for their identities.

We rely on children’s and young people’s voices and stories. Using an intersectional approach, we worked with Black, Asian and mixed-heritage children and young people (aged 14 to 19) to understand their narratives of identity. We focused firstly on understandings of ethnicity and religion and how these change in relation to other aspects of identity and, crucially, by being in care. Secondly, we examined their experiences of asking and getting help from social workers, foster carers, adopters and other support structures that provide for their identities while in care.

By listening to and understanding children and young people’s perspectives around ethnicity, religion and identity, we developed a new framework to inform both theoretical and practical work with children in care. We describe our model as Identities in-Flux, which integrates Kimberlé Crenshaw’s Intersectionality and Meredith McGuires’ Lived Religion theories to generate new frameworks of reference that support best practice when implementing support plans for young people and children. Within this model, we consider the interplay of changing socio-ethnic-religious factors, as well as young people and children’s biological heritage, their being in care and their own agency in determining how they themselves want to be perceived. By broadening discussion from a singular focus on one aspect of identity, such as race or gender, we hope to support inclusive and sensitive practices and policies that reflect and respond to the increasing diversity of children and young people entering care.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNuffield Foundation
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2024


  • Children
  • care
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Politics of Care


  • Faith and Peaceful Relations
  • Equality and Inclusion


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