Thursday, December 19, 2013

Suffer Little Children

There is a piece in the Times (sorry, there's a paywall) about the continuing tragedy of young people who live in the 'care' of a local authority until they reach the age of eighteen, when they can be more or less on their own. Although the staff mostly do their best, and are certainly not overpaid' the simple logistics of running a care home mean that the children see different adults as shifts change, and rarely have the chance to form meaningful relationships.
Add into the mix the fact that many of the children taken into care have already suffered emotional damage, and it is hardly surprising that so many young and not-so-young offenders have spent time in care
There are plans to provide additional support up to the age of 21 in appropriate cases. That must be better than what happens now. I once chatted with an officer at Feltham Young Offenders' Institution who told me that when he talks to the lads during recreation time, he sometimes finds that he is the first adult male that they have ever spoken to for more than a couple of minutes at a time. 

I hope that Rupert will forgive me if I insert a direct quote from the article:

 " Less than 1 per cent of the population has ever been in care, but they account for between 15 and 25 per cent of the homeless, 24 per cent of adult prisoners and — according to the Home Office — 70 per cent of sex workers. Only a third get five good GCSEs, compared with four fifths of their peers, and 6 per cent go on to higher education, whereas 23 per cent of their age group do. Whatever society is doing as substitute parents, our record is a lousy one".

1 comment:

  1. Going back some 25 years, a neighbour had a daughter who was doing well at school and, at the age of 10, already had ideas of becoming a professional and having a career in finance due to her skills with mathematics.

    A few months she was taken into care due to her mothers drink problem - of which I knew nothing. The girl was taken into care and without a parental figure went badly downhill fast. There she mixed with the wrong crowd and was soon into a world of petty crime.

    By the age of 20 she was living on benefits, had two children and their father had deserted her. Today she has never worked due to her confidence being eroded to the point of non-existence. Even today, she is receiving psychiatric help because of the regrets that stem from being parted from her mother and the subsequent events. She lives a world of what could have been and hates the reality of what has been.


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