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Kids in Care - Join in the debate

Since the case of Baby P, there has been a 40% increase in the number of children taken into care by the state. There are now 70,000 children being 'looked after' in the system. What happens to them? Can the system offer them a better life?

Panorama follows children in the care of Coventry Social Services for six months to find out if the state can be a real parent - even though children in care are more at risk of failing school and committing crime than any other group.

We welcome your commenst on Kids in Care. Please do join in the debate.


Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Please do join in the debate on the issues raised in Kids in Care. Leave your comment below.

  • Comment number 2.

    Congratulations to the BBC and Panorama Team for providing a platform and voice for these 'forgotten children' and staff members at such a time of absolute economic and political turbulence.
    I thought the content was both raw and accurate-'warts and all' if you like. I won't comment on the all too familiar and very real case histories portrayed in the programme other than to say there's many more like them 'out there.' The Care System currently costs the Treasury millions and millions of pounds. I would argue, on the basis of about twenty years experience of working in different parts of the system, that it is arguably as flawed, inefficient and under pressure now than it has ever been. I do not believe that we need to throw money 'we' haven't got at this problem. Rather I would suggest we need to 'pause for considerable thought' at a local level. How many 'looked after children' do 'we' (i.e. this local authority) have? How much money do we have to spend on them? What are we going to actively spend it on informed by effective multi agency/disciplinary individual needs assessments? Who is going to take a local lead on such an endeavour?
    The Hopefulness: Eileen Munro's Review of Social Work, Current Models of Good Practice (Many do exist: Tavistock/Haringey, North Lincolnshire, Camden, Westminster amongst others)
    The Hopelessness: The cycle of despair and professional haplessness that often accompanies the lives and experiences of many looked after children. Breaking the cycle.

    Come on Tim Loughton MP, Earl of Listowel and others-let's make it happen!

    Stuart Hannah
    Looked After Children's Lead
    NSCAP

  • Comment number 3.

    1) It seems such a shame that the staff from the children's home are not authorised to compel a child who has gone AWOL to return.
    2) I can see the issues from both sides regarding the older boy Conner not being able to see his mother/go to her wedding, but surely the fact that "no-one is available to take the child" to a pre-arranged visit must start alienating the child.
    3) It seems that when decisions are made by social workers, the child's voice is not heard. Is it possible to have an advocate who speaks on behalf of the child (not with a social services hat on) to liaise with social services who can put the child's point of view into the mix when making decisions about the future of the child?

    A very enlightening and saddening programme which highlighted the fact that the system is almost creating the next generation of disassociated adults in the UK.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi

    I watched children in care in coventry last night, I was left feeling very upset especially after watching 3 year old connor, who has been left with the fear that everyone will leave him that he just gets to know and loves, me and my husband adopted two children at the age of 6mths, they only lived with their foster carer for 3mths they are 5 years old now, so to think what connor is going through is traumatic for a 3 year old, and he really tugged at my heart strings, I think fostering is a fantastic thing to do for children but it would be great if there were more people who would consider adoption to give children stability in everyway for life.

    Caroline

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Welldone to the team on last nights show.
    It did however leave me very upset and distressed as i myself are a Grandma that as just lost a legal fight to have full long term care of my two year old grandaughter due to the fact I have been treated unfair and not been given the chance to care for her and was placed for adoption in March 2010 with her halph brother seperating these two from their third sibling.
    I know children have rights to sibling life but what they also fail to see is that a child as rights to birth family life.
    They have put these two children through so much upset my graddaughters been from birth to seperate them from the younger brother who remains with his birth mum & dad they have totaly cotradicted what they have told us in court.
    The program shows just how much impact fostering and adoption as on a child it also as just as much impact on the family who are left with know other opption when the courts can't agree with the granparents and give us some sort of legal rights.
    I am now fighting for some sort of change in the law with the members of parliment to give grandparents legal rights.

    Many thanks

  • Comment number 7.

    I wouldn't normally watch Panorama as i often find the programme very one sided and sensationalist, however, as a Foster Carer of over 7 years i thought the content would be of interest.
    Firstly, whilst i wouldn't disagree that there are children in the care system with huge problems to overcome, and with the Baby P case a huge strain has been placed on the already fragile care network. Last night's programme seemed to place too much emphasis on the negative, the system does work for lots of children; i know we care for one.
    A counterbalanced argument would have been far more favourable. Foster care and adoption cries out for good quality, dedicated people who can make a difference to young peoples lives; last nights show would hardly be a great advert to attract these people into what can be a hugely rewarding endeavour.
    I can't really comment on the system i only see the front end of it through Social Workers; as with any job there are very good and not so good people in the roles.
    I can't fix the Social Work system, but i can continue like many other 1000's of carers out there to try and make a difference. As a society we all need to weigh in and help, money won't resolve this. I hear almost daily 'i couldn't do what you do', well why not?? Individuals do make a difference.

  • Comment number 8.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "I am in care, I have watched the programme because I am always interested in what people think of foster children, I have had a bad start but I am not involved with the police or doing drugs or even drink I am in college had a award for aim higher and am looking at the prospect of going to university it just shows not all children who have been through the care system doesn't mean they cant make a better future for themselves.
    Mariola"

  • Comment number 9.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "I have sat and cried my eyes out at tonights kids in care, I feel like you have been very one sided about what actually happens once kids are in care. You have tried to paint a false picture of social services portraying that they do nothing but good, this is very untrue social workers ignore cries for help from parents that are struggling for what ever reason then come in a snatch kids away without even to try to offer help, not only that you have also failed to show the lies and deceit that goes on throughout social services workers and the lies they tell the courts to keep children away from there parents. Even when courts rule for social to provide certain help for parents to get there children back they fail to provide it then tell courts that the help is refused!!!!
    I think you should properly investigate social services and not only show the British public what they are really like but also show British government what goes on to open there eyes to what really happens so that drastic changes for the better can be made.
    Carrie"

  • Comment number 10.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "Hello,
    Gosh, your programme on how children are when they are within the care system affected me.
    No wonder they are so mixed up. It makes you realise just how important a loving and stable environment is.
    I'm a Prosecutor. I always just blame the parents, and don't perhaps stop to think about what the best way forward is for the youngster.
    I really want to know what happens to little Connor. I know it's only a snippet from his life, but he seems such a needy little boy with a lot of love in him.
    I desperately your programme to end with him being adopted by his foster family!!! Along with many others I expect.
    Maybe you could report what happened to the children in the programme at a later time.
    Regards,
    Enza"

  • Comment number 11.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "I've just finished watching your show and felt that i had to contact you to see what has happened to little connor. I found his situation very emotional (more so than the others, perhaps because of his age, and having a 15 month old son myself). Are you able to tell me if he has found a permanent home. He is such a gorgeous, loving little boy, his story has affected me so much, i cant stop crying when i think about him.
    Kimberley"

  • Comment number 12.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "I watched Panorama tonight, what a brilliant programme, I was in tears just want to praise Social Services who always seem to get bad press. I couldn't do it, I would be too emotional, but thank god for these people who care about so many children who are damaged in this society. I am so grateful to have had a good and happy childhood, and have passed that on to my children and grandchildren. Don't know what else to say. Thank you Panorama for making people aware.
    Jacqueline"

  • Comment number 13.

    My husband and i watched your programme last night, we have been put on a waiting list for fostering, also we wanted to adopt, we are in our forties, own our own house and have a 18 year old son when we registered with the adoption agent they said that there were no children in our area and would be a long waiting game? i do not understand the system anymore, Im a qualified nanny and have worked at a disabled college for 16/24 year olds for 10 years. Why cant the counties work togeather for these children. We are out there to help but no one seems to want to know? We thought little Conner was so cute. We just dont understand the red tape any more.......

  • Comment number 14.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "I just watched your programme on bbc1 about child in care --it was the most appauling blatent use of powers afforded the social services
    i have ever seen.I was in care and i was sent to foster parents who abused there position by physically beating me and my brother and sister-i have care records that show that people complained
    and nothing was done i also remembered telling my social worker at the time and was told i must have deserved it
    so when i watch this load of crap you put on the television as a portrate of life in care -think of all the lies that the social workers tell the parents and the kids
    if you want more info ask me and devon social services all you see is the ones making money from the childrens misery --why should this not be brought into the 21st century and have all in open court so the lies that have been said and written can be shown to all ---if the social services and the government have nothing to hide.
    many of the problems that the youngsters that are in care today have is they have to grow up before there time
    they have no childhood as its governed by sterio typing what some proffesional thinks it should be

  • Comment number 15.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "Thank you so much for this evenings programme. As a senior care worker in a home for teens with behavioural problems I felt it showed the truth about this work. It showed the compassion and dedication we have to have to work for these young people, Their experiences of the system and the difgiculties faced from all sides. Thank you for an objective, honest, compassionate and fair documentary which hopefully will show the public we are good caring and dedicated people.
    Morph"

  • Comment number 16.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "I watched your programme tonight and was really upset for the young man who damaged the social workers car. It is obvious that all he wants is to be with his mum.
    I'm sure that in the past their has been good reason to remove him, but the programme showed a mother who is able to provide a home. She is married, has a new house, cares for a toddler and has rehab certs. It doesn't make sense that she can care for a toddler but not care for her older son. I got the impression they are doing more harm than good to him.
    The attacked to the social workers care was pure frustration and my heart goes out to him.
    The other I could understand and I admire the Grange for the hard work they do.
    I really hope little Conner find a home soon he is adorable.
    Vicki"

  • Comment number 17.

    An email sent to the Panorama inbox:
    "Dear Sir,
    I have just watched the Panorama programme about Kids in Care and am deeply touched by what I have seen. I was especially affected by the situation regarding 14 yr old Connor whose mother has remarried.
    It was very apparent how important his mother is to him and by keeping them apart, both parties are continually being punished. Surely it would be better to organise a programme to allow him to be reunited with her under supervision. What do the authorities fear will happen? So she ran away with him once before - did she harm him? I doubt it. It was quite apparent that they love eachother and want to be together.
    Even in the case of Shannon and her mother, had they been allowed to be together, maybe the mother would not have gone on to commit further crimes and end up back in prison. It is very apparent that they both need help, preferably together.
    By removing Shannon from The Grange as punishment for her not obeying the rules, just puts the problem in another place (ie foster home) where she could easily behave in just the same way.
    All she and Connor are doing is rebelling at the situation they find themselves in, while yearning to be loved with their rightful family.
    I know what I am saying might seem naive and maybe even ignorant, but when you go back to basics, mother and child should be together.
    As I have already said, it seems to me that by keeping these children away from their maternal mothers both are continually being punished.
    All the time, money and effort could be better used to keeping families together, not keeping them apart.
    Meantime, I will dry my tears and pray to God that you find a better way.
    Sylvia"

  • Comment number 18.

    TRUST THE SYSTEM!? My son was forced into care - social workers who were working with him at the time had my permission to check my son over and no bruises have ever been found. I went to court and outside the court room the social worker said that they did not believe my son was harmed but in court said I did and will significantly harm him – they were obviously granted the interim care order they sought.

    Incidentally, within weeks of my son being in care the police classed my home as a place of safety and said they would like to leave my son at home with me and have allowed my son to stay with me overnight! My son’s guardian says he is a lovely boy and a credit to me and the care provider too – they say he is not challenging like other children, they have also said that he has been well brought up and I have shown myself to be a good parent. Neutral people clearly provide honest feedback, but I have found Local Authority comments and documentation to be biased and inaccurate.

    My experience of social workers is that they will mislead the court to get what they want and once granted the care orders they will manipulate the system. They told the court about assessing and reuniting family and have started nothing despite having my son almost a year now. They initially only allowed my son and me two hours contact a week despite all others (my son, myself, solicitors and guardian) saying that was not enough. I have found that they do not always work in line with the Children’s Act or in the child’s best interest or welfare. When they make mistakes they cover up by carrying on regardless and usually take weeks and months to respond to concerns, queries and requests.

    My experience has proved to me that the system is weighed so much against the parents and family. The Local Authority are meant to work in partnership and do not – they have constantly undermined and ignored me and have acted more like a dictator than a shared parent, leaving me feeling devalued and nullified as a parent. My son is quite an innocent child and the Local Authority chose to place him with criminals, vandals and drug addicts and he subsequently became a victim of crime himself.

    My son has walked home (many miles) from his placements and has consistently said he wants to be home but the Local Authority ignore him and refuse to let him home - even to visit. My son has been abused physically and mentally in care and social workers threatened him many times with putting him in secure accommodation because he kept coming home. He has also been coerced and spoken to inappropriately by them a number of times and they actually made him homeless at one point.

    It is social workers/the Local Authority that ensure my son experiences the worst ever experience of his life by forcing him into and keeping him in care; they have also actively disrupted contact and reneged on agreements. My son is deeply upset and angry; has frequent stress related headaches, nightmares and sleep problems and has started picking up negative behaviours from other children in care; he also shuts down his emotions; says he no longer cares and he feels hopeless at times; he also talks about professionals lying to him.

    My son will need intense therapy/support to reduce the significant damage the Local Authority have caused. What benefit is this to a child – when social workers choose to do this to children because they can – rather than they should – they even choose the care system as a first option not last resort. There are major overreactions following Baby P where social workers now want to be seen doing something rather than ensuring they do the right thing and as a result there are kids in care unnecessarily and many are suffering and are being harmed – statistically outcomes are bleak with many young people ending up with below average qualifications, with mental health problems, on the streets or in prison – why do Local Authorities choose this for children? In fact, they do things to other people’s children they would not dream of for their own.

    No child should experience cruelty – someone should be protecting children from social workers... because we have first hand experience of their inaccuracies and the harm that they actually cause to children, parents and families. My son and I are experiencing an extremely horrific year which will continue if the Local Authority are granted a full care order.

    The Local Authority actively harm children by causing them extreme trauma, stress and distress and ignore the real damage they do to children. Innocent parents are left helpless; my experience has shown me no matter what I say, my word is valued much less than the Local Authority’s and they obviously know that and use it to their advantage. My son is in real danger and I as his mother am blocked from protecting him – our human rights are violated and untrustworthy and illogical people are ruining our lives. Panorama are welcome to contact me.

  • Comment number 19.

    The Panorama programme gave a very good insight into the complexities and emotive nature of looked after children and working in social care. It was so refreshing to see social workers in a positive light for a change. The public need to have a better understanding of how it really is, however, it only scraped the surface on how it really is! Claire, who produced the programme, is a credit to the BBC. I know one of the children in the documentary and they have had a very difficult day to day as have I! More programmes need to be made in this way and covering difficult issues to raise awareness. Many of the comments left above are very naive and ignorant. I only hope that wonderful people still carry on going into social care to provide services and are not put off by the negative nature in which they are portrayed. The government is disgraceful the way they continue to cut away at services. Social workers in Coventry use their own personal mobiles for work purposes, they do not receive any financial support when they work with their client group, they take work home to the detriment of their own families and I know many whom struggle to sleep at night due to worrying about children they work with. Thank goodness they are there...trying to make a difference!

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    After watching the bbcs panorama last night both myself and my partner were left close to tears all the stories were very touching but the one that affected us most was that of 3 year old little conner maybe as we have a 19 month old son ourselves, he seemed like such a loving little boy and so happy with his foster family that it seems such a shame he has to leave them. Ifeel this programme would have touched the hearts of many as it has mine and maybe just make people think that little bit more about fostering adopting e.t.c these foster parents and social workers do an amazing job and i hope this programme has encouraged more people to do the same. I really hope conner finds a good safe home or his foster parents change there mind on keeping him i think they would do a great job even at 64!

  • Comment number 22.

    After watching Panorama last night i felt quite cross. I am a foster carer and a adopted parent, I live in west sussex and have not had a placement for two months on a couple of occasion's my husband and i wanted to adopt foster children with one we were told we were jumping the que,Fostering was not a back door to adoption. One the other case the child was mixed race, We were good enough to Foster the child but not good enough to adopt. She was adopted by a all white couple!
    All i keep hearing is there are not enough Foster carers we have been waiting for two months and i know of a carer who has been waiting a year.
    Little conner is welcome to join my forever family.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have criticised the principles that govern society’s response to ‘children in trouble’ since the 70s and agree with Stuart Hannah and Morph that your portrait was accurate and truthful; posts 2 and 15. But Sylvia offers a rare yet crucial insight, “removing Shannon from The Grange as punishment for her not obeying the rules just puts the problem in (the) foster home where she could easily behave in just the same way.”; post 17. And 14-year-old Connor’s was moved from his previous Home for attacking staff and lost his current social worker after he attacked his car.
    Frequent moves destroy a child’s trust in adults and some children in care have had dozens. Yet, despite the biblical ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ none asks why these mid teens cannot be beaten and thereby held! And why have men allowed women’s wish to care for troubled youngsters to eclipse their duty to ensure that troublesome youngsters are sensibly disciplined and deterred?
    Somehow badness evoked by deprivation is excused. Yet a moment’s thought shows that all badness is provoked by something and if that were to excuse punishment then civilization would collapse!

  • Comment number 24.

    I thought the programme was good so-far but I think it would be a good to have a sort of follow on progamme this time about adults who have been through the care system. I know some things have changed but then again the same mistakes keep on being made. I was brought up in care and one of the most important if not the most important thing a child needs in care is trust. Trust that you will not give up on a child trust that you will be honest with them and help them to help themselves, be supportive in order for them to build their confidence in order to stand up for themselves without thinking they have to be a door mat or disruptive. Adults who have been in care should also have support and undersanding. I am now 66 years old my mother was born in a work house I first wss in care at the age of three with my brothers and sister. I lost contact with one of my brothers when I was 12 and my sister when I was 17. When I found my sister (she was living in Manchester) I was in my 50s I hadn't seen her for over 30 years. At the time I was working for Newcastle upon Tyne Council. I asked my boss for leave, told her why (she used to work for SS) She refused,what was the reason you may wonder? there was going to be a one day strike the following week. After some friends made a fuss I was allowed Wed and Th off. I did get to see my sister for one day. She died shortly after but i didn't get to find my brother. Dear Sue if you read this, it's for you . It should be a rule the employees do not get in the way of families who have been in care being re-united. Especially L A.

    Some times it is true it is better for children to go into car. Although I came out of the childrens home (Styal now a woments prison) I put myself back into care as I knew what was happening to me wasn't right. If the care system isn't sorted out now things will only get worse for society as a whole. there are too many baby Ps the Government are going to have to put moor money into Social Services, yes they make mistakes after all they are humen and they get too much piled onto them.

  • Comment number 25.

    On the whole a good programme. There were many positives of good practice and I think sometimes the carehome staff don't get enough recognition. My heart went out to 14 year old Conner who was expected to be grateful to the Social Worker for sorting out contact for him. This child was hurting and through no fault of his own had not had contacted for four months, he was then expected to joyful. I felt this was more about the social workers needs than the childs needs and in no way condone Conners attack,and boundaries need to be established, but the child is frustrated and almost being held to blame. The social worker, no doubt, was trying his best but he appeared patronising and dismissive of the pain Conner was probably feeling. I was horrified when the worker said it will now be decided if 'I' can work with him! i just so hope the child experiences some unconditional love and nurturing before the isolation and frustration get the better of him. welldone to all those doing a good job in social care.....lets not forget why some of these children are in the 'system'.

  • Comment number 26.

    Social Services should have made a program on how they really work and fail so many children in Coventry. My niece has lived with me for 4.5 years and in this time i have received no help or support but a kick in the teeth time and time again from social services. I have given her a stable, loving home environment even through very callenging behaviour due to the failing of social services from when she was born. I have written a complaint to them about the way we have been treated and they openly admitted they have failed her. I thought things would improve after the complaint as they promised the world but unfortunatly this was all false promises. My niece is no longer living with me but im continuing to support her. This is now costing social services £5000pw to accomidate her but if we had help at the time she would still be with her family were she belongs and not stuck 200 miles away on her own and being punished for a life of failing by social services and her parents. The system needs to change very soon or social services are going to have alot more baby P cases on there hands.

  • Comment number 27.

    I am disgusted about what was shown on this programme, as someone who has grown up in care I can say on behalf of myself, and most of the children I grew up with, social services are nothing for the country to be proud about. Yes, social services should come into play in situations such as poor baby P, yet that has made social services go mad and accuse and over-react wrongly ever since. Any worker or carer can defend this, but unless you are falsly accused yourself, you will never,ever know the pain this system causes, to the parent AND child. As was previously said, not enough is done to keep families together, of course its going to mess a child up psychologically to remove them from their parent (please note, this does NOT apply in situations of abuse etc).

    The childrens act is picked and chosen at will by social workers and SOME (not all) people in that profession, and I speak as someone from the caring profession myself.
    I watched physical abuse take place in the childrens home I lived in, and I was NOT using drugs/alcohol/having sex at all, I was terrified. Complaining to the home and to my social worker got me nowhere, they told me they would deny it,and one poor girl I was placed with who had been raped by 4 different foster fathers! Another girl was sat on by a 20 stone woman whilst she was waiting to be transported to a secure unit with an unwarranted police escort, in handculfs, at 13.The system is rubbish. Social services say they want to keep families together yet will do everything in their power to tear them apart yet in the serious cases like baby p, they dont do enough and when it is too late victimise innocent families. I made a complaint about social services in Feb, yet to now, I have not had a response (and should have done within 4 weeks), what does that say??? Panorama are welcome to contact me too.

  • Comment number 28.

    The 14 year old can go to court himself to revoke his care order and go home. There are many groups out there that can offer him advice on how to do this. If he chose to run away home, the police are not physically allowed to remove him and if they feel he is not at risk when they go to see him the police can make the decision to let him stay and the LA then have to go back to court. This is why there was a change in he childrens bill to allow ALL children to have an independant advocate so things like whats happening to Conah which is making him worse, stop happening.

  • Comment number 29.

    can everyone tone their emotion and start using their brain with regards to Connor wanting to be with his mother. did nobody notice the question the social worker asked if they are receiving a small amount of benefit and where does all the other money come from. car boots sale??? really? Surely they are trying to protect this child by making sure. After all how trusting would you be about someone who has a history of drugs, been to prison and manages to get more money than they can show legitimately? How could a 14 year old be of use that a two year old could not be???

    how many of us have tried to protect our own teenagers against risks with them fighting us every step of the way. how much harder is it to protect someone else's child.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well.....after watching the programme on Tuesday I am still recovering!!! I have been particularly distressed by the plight of little Conor and am praying that his foster family change their mind and adopt him. However if they don't I would love Conor to come and live with my family and he would be loved, cherished and given the love and security he so obviously craves. I have not been able to get little Conor out of my head since the programme and hope Coventry Social services do everything on their power to get this little boy out of care and into a loving home.

    Another question I have is that why did big Connor's mother have to have supervised access with her 14 year old but have a two year old in her constant care???

    I feel that the care system is failing and therefore we need to have more children adopted, but many are put off by the lengthy process.

  • Comment number 31.

    I was contemplating watching this programme, and ended up missing it as my memories of childhood are not the greatest. My childhood involved a biological father of no existence, being raised by our mother and partly by my older siblings father. My so called mother at first cared greatly but soon started to show signs of cracking. Regularly down the pub leaving us to fend for ourselves from a young age, being beaten with tree branches and large biker belts with a large metal buckle for being a little "bugger". At the sweet age of just thirteen, yes I was a little devil by this time, kicked me out for all the things I had done. This brings me to my point... After spending around 6months on the streets of my hometown and surrounding areas, my oldest brother took me to the local authorities. There actions where rather dismal as I was told that they could not take a homeless and vulnerable 13yr old boy off the streets as I was too close to the leaving care age and turned me away. Thanks to them I spent my days up to my 16th birthday on the streets, having to break the law just to eat and survive thus effecting my life thereafter. So no.... The social services in this so called, more economically developed country (MEDC) are not to the high standards of which it should be the most basic requirements expected of them. Getting the right balance of quality of care is paramount to the success of each and every Childs life within the care system...

  • Comment number 32.

    I grew up in foster care from the age of 11 through to 18 so I watched this programme the other night on iplayer with interest. There is not enough space here to describe the damage that being in care has had on my adult life and the reasons for this. I have never been in trouble with the law, never drank underage or took drugs. I always aimed to do well at school but I never got any encouragement from my carers - when I got my GCSE grades I was never once praised, when I passed my A-levels no praise. When I said I wanted to go to University I was told not to go as though I wasn't good enough or didn't deserve it - I was always compared to members of their own family and never good enough no matter what I did or how hard I tried. They did not understand me or even try to understand me. I was very career minded and wanted to be successful in this but because I am female they didn't want this. It was ok that the foster carers own eldest son went to uni but because I wanted to go I was told that I made the bed I lay in as though it was a really bad thing for me to want to do. So I put off going for five years and tried to ignore what I really wanted to please them. When I finally made up my mind to go guess what I never heard from them - I got no support no encouragement. I wrote and told them when I graduated three years ago and told them I wanted to be an officer in the RAF. I never got a response so I have now given up. I want nothing more to do with them. Last year I got diagnosed with depression. Which I have had on and off throughout my 20s. At times it has felt that I have been on the verge of a nervous breakdown. So I now cannot join the RAF. I would have been so proud. I am now stuck in a job I hate and cannot seem to get out of. The worse effects for me have been the lack of self confidence, self esteem, an inability to stand up for myself and a fear of people in general. I find it difficult to trust people and therefore difficult to go out and socialise and make friends which has also had an effect on my life and career. I know from what I have read in some of the other posts here and what I have heard in the news and from others that I am one of the luckier ones but I am still damaged and no matter how hard I try growing up in care has had a bad effect on my life.

  • Comment number 33.

    after a 4.5 year case in the family courts we have just had a 10 year child placed into interim care because we have a high court judge very abgry with us, because we have accused him or conspiring with the cafcass guardian ad litem against us.

    Emotional harm is the allegation of the cafcass officer who has met us once for 30 minutes in 1 year. that led to the judge stating there had been significant harm... why? because we refused to partake in a section 37 assessment. We refused because it has been called for by the guardian directly after a section 7 report has just been completed and the report states no emotional or any other kind of harm what so ever was evident.

    Whilst the section 7 report was being done the guardian himself applied to the court 3 times for a section 37 report, then referred a section 47 allegation to social services. so far we have had 3 different judges, 2 sets of so called expert psychologists, over 50 hearings, 40 or 50 orders, 2 section 7 reports, 2 section 37 assessments, 1 section 47 referral investigation, in a case lasting over 4 and a half years over residency and contact.

    The father is ina psychiatric hospital after his 7th sectioning, so our sons brother is in care also now but in a different country. the judge in this case said it was the most complex case he had seen in 30 years experience.

    The thing is it has took 4.5 years to reach this point and we had complained about the judghe and the guardian. The response? the judge spat his dummy out and removed the child from our care without any evidence that hadnt already been investigated and assessed many times already.

    Our son left us today, leaving behind a 2 year old brother who is so bonded to him his heart is broken and a 4 year sister who is angry he has gone. we are so dangerous as parents that they have no concerns about our younger children.

    Our lad is now with foster carers, we were not aloud to know what part of the country he has gone to, and are not allowed to have contact until monday for some reason. My wife , his mother is currently off work and spiralling into depresion, and i ? well i feel like being violent to as many social workers as i can find, i grew up in care and was a victim of Pindown, and all kinds of abuse i would rather not go into.

    I have a criminal record with over 100 convictions, but although that may be alarming my problem is with authority, this is due to what happened to me in care, and in approved school. Social workers made me what i became, violent and quite a nasty young man.

    I settled down 6 years ago )at last ! had children and stopped acting the same way. But my past history is a concern .... for the judge .

    But it hasnt been for 4.5 years. so we have upset the judge and our price for doing so is our son goes into care. It is pathetic and so hurtful

  • Comment number 34.

    i live in local authority care now, this programme made me so mad! it was not a true reflection about us at all!
    ready my blog to see what its really like!
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

 

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