Lost In Care

14 years working in residential children's homes. 5 years training foster carers and care staff. Trainee child therapist. 14 years in care as a child. Diary, anecdotes and rants about the good, bad and mediocre. Anonymised but all true.

Month: May 2014

Just some stuff that happened today…

I drove to the home feeling fairly buoyant  but within, let’s say, 30 seconds I felt very short tempered. I was given a garbled handover that left me clueless as to what had been going on and then sent out immediately to collect the petty cash from the office (a 15 minute drive away) which I had just driven past on my way in.

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Daddy’s Little Girl and the Oedipus Complex…

OK…I want this blog to be as accessible and free from jargon and theory as reasonably possible.  However, I  do not want to sanitise it or patronise readers.  So, before I say what I planned to talk about, I am going to briefly explain the Oedipus Complex:

I guess most people will have heard of it and most will know it is something to do with Freud.  Some may have an idea that it is something to do with young boys wanting to have sex with their mum.  (Some of you will know exactly what the Oedipus Complex is and may well understand it better than me.  This section isn’t for you – feel free to scroll down.)

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Risk Assesment Hell…

I went into the home just for a paperwork day today.  Greeted with lots of: “what you doing here?” from the kids, and “when you going home?” They don’t like it when you’re not there to be with them.  Still, their rudeness wound me up slightly today.  That and some of my colleagues having their heads up their backsides, which meant every time I left the office I found unsupervised children doing things they shouldn’t.

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Violence, boundaries, control and physical intervention

So, last night myself and a colleague restrained Mo in a variety of different holds for nearly two hours. Mo kept hurting us – biting, spitting, head butting, punching and on two separate occasions kicked my colleague, Jane, in the crotch.  Sometimes I held him on my own.  This is considered poor practice but we had other children to look after who are all capable of kicking off if they feel ignored.  The child in question wanted to be held as his behaviour, and what he said, indicated.

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Hope and Dispair

At the end of every half-term the kids at the school, which is run by the kids home I work for, do a presentation on what they have been doing in school.

The whole community (as in care staff, office staff, management and social workers who have time) come to watch.

It’s excruciating, awkward, delightful, endearing and hopeful in equal measure…

The “Privatisation” of Child Protection

OK…let me stick my oar into the debate about government proposals to privatise aspects of child protection work.

The Government argument that child protection could be improved if some parts of it were farmed out to organisations with specialist expertise does not hold up to even the most cursory close reasoning. Why? Because all current child protection practitioners either work for local authorities or the police.  All of them.  That is because no aspects of child protection are currently allowed to be managed by the private sector.

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Who is the abuser now?

Sarah claims she has a”crush” on me (this is an on-going situation).  It is not really that straightforward.  To a large extent she see’s me as a paternal figure and, within certain parameters,  this is healthy.  Unfortunately, because of her past, her view of paternal figures is distorted and confused by sexual feelings and fantasy.  Can I really care for her if I don’t want to have sex with her? Can she have a strong attachment to me and can she love me without it meaning she wants to have sex with me? These are the questions which confuse her.

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So…I thought I would take a look at what’s out there in the blogosphere regarding kids in care, kids who have been in care, people who look after kids in care and so on.

There seems to be a lot out there about “forced” adoption and generally about the idea that the state are in someway child snatchers – as if the care system is abusive by intent and design.  This is clearly nonsense and I intended to write a well argued rebuke and defense of the good work and heartfelt desire to improve children’s life’s of many working in the care “system”.

But I can’t because I started work at 7am yesterday and finished at 5pm today (I have worked much longer shifts) so I am exhausted and the well argued stuff will have to wait…

Toxic Material

A 10-year-old girl I look after – lets call her Sarah – has the “worst” case history I have ever read.  The word “worst” is in inverted commas because there is something slightly uncomfortable about comparing different children’s experiences.  The children I look after have all had, by any measure, terrible early years, and to say one is the worst implies the others are better. But there really is no getting round it – Sarah’s is the worst.

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