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It makes sense to know a little about the person who’s writing this blog, so here goes:

My name is Jonny Matthew, I’m 53 years old and I live in Cardiff, South Wales, U.K. I have two lovely kids, called Gruff (18) and Annie (12). When I’m not working I like to play with my Apple gadgets, make stuff out of clay, read, go to the cinema and spend time with my wife, Karen, and my kids.

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What’s this blog about?

My passion is working to help young people in crisis to recover. I also like to inspire colleagues to do the same. This blog aims to promote the rights, well-being and future success of young people whose start in life has been a struggle.

Maybe they’ve been abused, neglected, brain-injured, abandoned to the care system, or maybe they have a mental illness – whatever the cause, it’s been a struggle!

My reading and research interests include:

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  • child care,
  • youth crime,
  • sexual abuse,
  • adoption,
  • attachment & child development,
  • youth justice policy and practice,
  • therapy,
  • brain science…

…and all things related to helping troubled kids to recover.

I try to write one blog post each week/fortnight. I send these out by email to over 1800 subscribers. You can join them by entering your name and email in the spaces on the right of this page or just click here. That way you can get the posts as I write them.

All subscribers get a complimentary copy of my new e-book, “Connecting With Troubled Young People.”

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YJB smallEmployment history

As well as my independent work, I am employed part time by the Youth Justice Board Wales as Senior Adviser for Case Work Innovation.

My previous professional role was that of Assistant Manager at Hillside Secure Children’s Home in Neath, South Wales.  My responsibilities included leading on interventions, care planning and staff training.

Before that I was a youth justice social worker for Rhondda Cynon Taff county borough council in a youth offending team and, for ten nearly years, a manager and specialist practitioner with Barnardo’s Cymru Taith Service, working with young people with harmful sexual behaviour.


I left school at 16 to apprentice as a motor mechanic. I volunteered in the church youth club at the same time (I was the kid who wouldn’t leave!). Later, I qualified in social work, specialising in youth crime, before taking a Masters degree in criminology and criminal justice.

My interests have broadened over the years to include anything relating to young people in trouble. I guess I was one of those kids who could have gone either way myself; into trouble or on to success. I made that decision whilst sat in the back of a Police car in 1982! I could make the right decision because I had a great start in life, with dedicated, hard-working, Christian parents who set a fine example for me to follow. But many young people never experience that care. Their early years are characterised by threat, illness, neglect, abuse or a combination of these and more.

These kids deserve a chance. For most children, that chance lies in building a trusting relationship with an adult who cares. Someone who can be their security and look out for their interests. For many kids, that person is a professional – a social worker, a foster carer, a youth offending team worker, a youth worker, a school teacher – someone who gives a monkeys about them.

These are the people I want to inform and inspire through my work.

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 I also sing in a band called BarlowCree – with my mate Liam Millinship (world class guitarist!).  The stuff we write and play is acoustic/folk/trad – ish, with hints of rock and new country thrown in.  Our first album, “Holystone” was launched in July 2011 (see above).


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This is a personal blog, reflecting my views and opinions, not necessarily those of my employer or anyone I’m currently working with. The information I provide is on an as-seen basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its use.

© Jonny Matthew 2015


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.