As a young boy, Daryl Brougham thought his name was Daryl Foster.

He lived in at least 24 foster homes until the age of 18.

He estimates he had more than 30 social workers, and attended about seven primary schools and 10 secondary schools.

He was admitted to hospital as a baby, just 4 months old, with urine burns and eczema.

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Three months later he was placed in the so-called care of the state, in 1980.

In February this year, Mr Brougham received a formal apology from Brendan Boyle, the chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development, which now runs Child Youth and Family.

"I was disturbed to read that during the 18 years you were in our care," Mr Boyle wrote, "for the majority of this time social workers failed to ensure you received appropriate social work support and services and that you were moved more than 24 times. Many of these placements were not with approved caregivers and in some, you were physically and emotionally abused. You were young and vulnerable and deserved to be protected and cared for and to have the opportunity to grow up in a long-term, safe and stable placement.

"I want to formally acknowledge that what happened to you while you were in care was not acceptable and to sincerely apologise that you were not kept safe."

Mr Brougham had been dealing with the ministry's historic claims team about his experiences under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and then the Children, Young Persons and their Families Service. As well as the formal apology, he received $70,000, which he was told was the top of the scale.

Mr Brougham, now aged 35, was deeply affected by the experience.

"I got angry a lot when I was younger because I had made friends and in the end I didn't know if I was going to be anywhere long enough to keep friendships and that will always hurt me the most."

But despite the emotional scars, he managed to escape a road to crime, which many with unstable childhoods take.

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"None whatsoever. I have no criminal history. No convictions."

After leaving school, Mr Brougham ended up in the cleaning industry and became a manager for numerous companies.

But he always wanted to be a social worker.

"I think that's from living in state care. Most of the time I was the older child in the house and I would look after the young ones. That's grown with me."

He studied social work at Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Mangere and did his practical experience at Child Youth and Family where he lamented the heavy caseload.

He said social workers being overworked was likely the reason he was placed in unapproved foster homes.

He has also developed a programme to teach social work students what it is like to be in foster care and has run sessions for Child Youth and Family.

"I truly feel that social workers need to be educated on what state care or foster care actually looks like, tastes like, and feels like."

Mr Brougham was concerned that the panel appointed to review Child Youth and Family would have no connection with the reality of social work.

"I didn't see one social worker there. I didn't see one person who has lived any kind of state care or foster care life.

"To me it looked like the Government was seeking good advice but it wasn't seeking expert advice."