Lost In Care

Over 12 years working in residential children's homes. 5 years training foster carers and care staff. Trainee child psychotherapist. 14 years in care as a child. Diary, anecdotes and rants about the good, bad and mediocre. Anonymised but all true.

Category: Risk

Why would a 14-year-old girl swallow a battery?

Firstly, before I become all “left-brained” about this, imagine actually doing it.  Close your eyes if you need to.  Imagine the feel of an AA battery in your hand – the size, the weight.  Notice how solid it is.  Now imagine resting it between your lips – the feel of cold metal.  Picture yourself pushing the AA battery, with the tip of your finger, all the way into your mouth and towards the back of your tongue.  Now imagine swallowing.  Go on – really imagine it.

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I can’t keep the children I work with safe (further thoughts)…

I recently wrote a piece for Community Care about the difficulties involved in keeping some looked after children safe and what I think needs to be done to address this.  If you haven’t already, you can read it here.  It received a much bigger response than anything else I have ever written – most of it positive or, at least, engaged with the issue, and some of it critical.

However, while it is of course flattering when people say nice things or agree with me on Twitter (I have an ego), I did not write it for these reasons.  Nor did I write it as clickbait for Community Care.   I wrote it because I am very worried about the issue and feel passionately about it.  It is for this reason I am pleased it got a bit of attention.

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Boredom in the counter-transference…

As most of you won’t have noticed, I haven’t written for a while.  I couldn’t think of anything to say.  Taken as a whole this blog is fairly bleak and I noticed the most popular posts were generally the ones in which I lay bare painful autobiographical detail or describe the traumatic experiences of children I have looked after.  There is value in telling these stories of course, but I think it started to skew the way I was thinking about my work and my own past – as if it was all just material to write about.  I gradually became uncomfortable with this.

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Holding children “in mind”…

If we are lucky as babies (and most of us are – our parents might not have been perfect but were probably “good enough”) we will experience a period of “primary maternal preoccupation“.

This concept was identified by Donald Winnicott (other theories are available – see Wilfred Bion’s “maternal reverie”) and essentially refers to the mother’s state of mind for a few weeks before and after the birth of a child. In very basic terms this means the mother becomes obsessed by the baby, thinking almost entirely of his or her needs, wondering what the child is thinking, what different noises and expressions mean and generally trying to work out what is going on for the child.

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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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