Thursday, 2 July 2015

The ugly truth of a care leaver

"Life is hard, life has challenges. We all know that. It's how we approach those difficulties and deal with them that shape us into who we are.

We all have inner strength and as humans can adapt to survive in this world.
In life we want to be happy. We want to feel love. Love is what gets us through life. The love and support of our families, the encouragement and care of those closest to us. Growing up those elements are vital for us to develop as healthy human beings.
What about those who never had love? What about those who never had encouragement? What about those who never had support?
Forgetting about what some people never had what about those people who had the opposite, damaging end of the spectrum?
What about those who had hate? What about those who had neglect? What about those who felt abuse?

Well I'm aware first hand how those who did have that negative upbringing are stunted from healthy, mental development.
Lots of children who were bought into the world in troubled homes do end up in the care system. Often in multiple foster families and sometimes children's homes.
What I want to focus on though is what happens when that child becomes an adult.
At seventeen that child is on their own. Chucked into the world on their own with the occasional superficial advice from a support worker.
But hey, they've had a rough start in life but it's what they do now that matters right? You get to hear people say 'well I moved out when I was sixteen and I made it OK'.
Or another thing that annoys me is people who get nice things and go on holiday all the time and are like 'well if you work hard you get nice things'.
The thing is, is that these people do not have the slightest clue.
Physically, most care leavers are on even grounds with everyone else. Mentally, people have no idea how much on a different wave length some of us are... and not by choice. People say 'just choose to be happy' or 'just get on with it'.
How many charity's and support is there for older people who are now alone and have no family? How many people feel so sad for those people? A lot of people do because dur it is sad.
How tragic is it to have that same thing at eighteen? To be completely alone. To have to figure out everything. To have the same cycle of waking up, going to work and then going home to be all alone.
Those people who have all those fancy materialistic things and go on great holidays blah blah can claim what they like about how hard they work but I'd like to ask - would they have the same motivation if the following factors applied?

1) Your family no longer exist
2) You don't have a nice home
3) Most of the money you get from your pay has to now go on living
4) You go home to be alone
5) In fact most of the time you are alone your own
6) Also your head is so messed up from all the traumatic childhood experiences you've had
7) Oh and also you get to look at your arm every now and then and embrace the scars that will never go away
8) and the stretch marks and excess weight from all the times you were so alone you ate for some kind of comfort
9) You're so stressed all the time you feel like you are dying

I could go on and on and on but I think you get the idea. 
Let England continue to fail care leavers. Let England continue to have unrealistic expectations. Let the system fail the most vunerable people.

Because I mean of course with all the above issues care leavers can:
1) Find somewhere to rent at 18...because of course they know so much about tenancy agreements and contracts etc and aren't bound to end up in some sort of financial trouble
2) Oh and let them do that while they legally still have to be in school
3) and have that full time job on the side
4) Yep, they can make great decisions on their own, no help required at all
5) Oh, finances...yeah paying rent, studying, working...eeeassssyyy.
6) But when we do have to drop out of college of course we can get to Uni with no A levels
7) Homeless? We'd never become homeless...

So yeah we can be successful right?...
We don't have to practically half kill ourselves doing so?

That is all"

Blog by a care leaver Hannah Lucy Ide, 
(Reproduced with her prior permission)

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