I said goodbye to Scarlett yesterday – tomorrow she moves to her fifth placement in the 18 months she has been “looked-after”. She has been with us since Christmas Eve. I will discuss why in a moment, but first:
What a cold, clinical and straight-out horrible word, it has just occurred to me, “placement” is. There is a reason we use words like this as professionals – it’s a defence. It protects us from having to confront the full reality of what is happening. “Placement” doesn’t have quite the same emotional resonance as “home” does it?
Obviously the word “family” is complicated and painful for all children in care because, irrespective of the circumstances, all of them are united by one simple truth – they are not living with theirs.
Images of “perfect” families abound in popular culture – films, books, even TV adverts, constantly bombard these kids (and, let’s face it, all of us) with idealised versions of what a family “should” be like. Sure, siblings may argue but they make up in the end, or come together when they need each other – blood is thicker than water and blah, cliche, blah.