At CASCADE we are committed to involving people with lived experience of children and families social care in our research. This includes children & young people, parents and carers.

In 2021 we took the decision to set up an Involvement Board to steer and support our work.

This board sits alongside our centre management and supports our strategic plans, holds us accountable and offers some governance to the research centre.

The board meets four times a year and has already implemented some key changes:

  • Asking for and reviewing Job Descriptions to allow the skills involved in public involvement to be translated into a professional language which can be used for job descriptions and references.
  • Tackling topics such as our equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Addressing digital exclusion and its affects on our groups, in terms of devices and data.

Board members

Vikki Langford works for Theraplay UK and The Family Place. She draws on her personal and professional experience to spark a deeper understanding and knowledge that can effect real change and improve outcomes for children and their families.  

Gareth K Thomas has been a foster parent for the past six years. His background is in digital strategy. He now works as a creative and strategic consultant, on projects such as the NEST framework for Welsh Government.  

Em Hattersley is a Widening Participation Officer at Cardiff University and specialises in supporting Care Experienced young people and young carers. She also sits on a panel for Compass Fostering, where they approve and review foster carers. Em works to use her lived experience to improve systems and outcomes for other care experienced young people.  

Jen Molloy is a proud mum and an experienced volunteer. She has used her lived experience to contribute to campaigns and research about the rights of young people in care and those of parents and families. Jen is a founding member of the CASCADE public involvement parents group.  

Charlotte Callaghan is an ambassador for Adoption UK and has been involved with Adoption UK for over 10 years. She brings knowledge from working on the funding board for Health & Research Care Wales as a Public and Patient Involvement expert and her experience regarding Children & Young People in the foster care system.  

Sara Jones is an experienced social worker who works as the life journey work coordinator for an adoption collaborative. She loves working creatively with children and the important adults around them, to help them understand their story. Sara is currently an in-practice researcher with CASCADE.  

Professor Sally Holland is the Assistant Director & Founder at CASCADE

Rachael Vaughan is the Engagement Manager at CASCADE

Profile photo of Phil Lambert, CASCADE's Engagement Administration Officer.

Phil Lambert is the Assistant Engagement Officer at CASCADE

Contact us

To enquire about our groups, costs and services as a member of the public, charity or researcher, please contact: or

Our Involvement work is based on the definitions, principles and guidance in the Public Involvement Standards developed by Health Care Research Wales. For further information, please follow this link: