Friday, 26 June 2015
Friday, 19 June 2015
Promises made to young people before and leaving care should be kept. Otherwise don’t make them.
Explaining my life history again and again to each new social worker was boring, upsetting and a waste of time. At least twice I never even saw the person again.
Don’t expect many care leavers to have a close friend to help them. Ella and I were so lucky to have each other but did Social Services know or care?
In almost every case discretionary means no.
Be ambitious for yourself and for those you love. You only get one shot at the 16-21 period of your life and if you just drink, smoke and hang around in the town centre causing low level disruption you will live to regret it!
Friday, 12 June 2015
We didn't get any reply and we didn't think much more about it until we noticed our elected representative had written a piece in the local newspaper about the need for "accountability and transparency" in Council affairs. So we emailed him and he provided us with a list of the members and their background.
There were senior social workers, a local GP, a person with a background in mental health, a Deputy Head of a local school and a former manager of a Children's Home.
What there didn't seem to be was anybody who had been user of the service and this was, as far as Ella and I could see it, a serious gap. So we wrote a letter to the Chairperson of the Working Party. It wasn't a long letter (busy people don't seem to read long letters), it wasn't a rude letter either but it did ask about the gap.
We were pleased and surprised when he phoned us one evening. We were not pleased or surprised at what he had to say!
It had clearly never crossed his mind that the users of a system might have some useful observations about how well the system operates. He mentioned - while boasting about how busy and important he was - that he travels to London by train once a week. He said that it was "right and proper" that rail users should have a "loud voice" in any debate but couldn't or wouldn't see why that should also apply to his Working Party of Children's Home provision.
He had a whole list of reasons why our suggestions to make the group more useful were "impractical".
- Either of us being present at meetings "would inhibit the free flow of ideas".
- The members of the group are all busy professional people who are "mindful" of the "relevant financial constraints".
- His is a "high powered" group and we would find attending a group meeting "too stressful"
Thursday, 4 June 2015
She's dead and I'm going to miss her so much. She was only 18 when she died although perhaps "died" isn't quite the correct word to use. You see Maddie wasn't ever really alive because she was a character in the long-running programme "Coronation Street".
Maddie was so like me and so like many of my friends (especially Nicola, RIP) that it was quite spooky watching her. Maddie had loads of emotional baggage - her younger brother was in foster care, her Mother had mental health problems and Maddie herself had been living rough for several years when she was first introduced to the viewers in December 2013.
Maddie was a feisty girl - a survivor - a lesbian - and somebody who found sadness much easier to cope with than happiness. Without thinking too hard I could list a dozen of my friends who would share at least 3 if not all 4 of these character traits.
When you have nobody on your side, when society at large doesn't care about you, when family life is just something that happens for other people you have to make your own way. If you don't you sink.
Maddie was a supreme example of what I call "Care Home Kids" and it is a beep beep shame that she has been written out of the series.