I was prompted to write this blog, after reading the well meaning, and in parts, excellent, report published through various LAC and Care Leavers Charities – Save Our Children – concerning missed opportunities to support Care Leavers in The Children’s and Families Bill.
Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with the requests of the report, I feel totally let down by these caring Organisations, asking for the age of Care Leavers who need support to be raised to age 25. Allow me a moment to take you through where I was at age 25.
I had 2 happy children, and an ex husband (This was a positive)
I had just started my first paid job, after working for 2 years in a voluntary capacity at my local CAB.
I had read through all 13 volumes, took 6 months, of my Social Services files.
To cope with the above, well deserved I felt at the time, I began to open a bottle of wine every night….
The progression to choosing to open a bottle, or 2, or 3, quickly moved from choice to need..
My head and heart had all but suffocated under the recurring nightmares of my childhood…
Emotionally and spiritually, a breakdown was in the post…..
At 32 it was delivered.
At 38 I have recovered, and continue to recover.
So you see, age 25 as a Care Leaver means absolutely nothing, and actually, although I needed emotional and practical support before this, I needed it far more once I hit the age of 30.
Care Leavers are individual.
If I am able to access support until I reach 25, what happens if my emotional rock bottom happens at 36? I no longer qualify as needing support?
Would I turn my daughter away after the age of 25 – no.
Should I – no.
Where has this age come from? I’m concerned, very, that the continued fight to be recognised as a Care Leaver in need, only until you reach a magical age of 25, by these charities, detracts from the reality above.
I’m also a little angry – I feel not listened to – nothing changes there you may think if reading this as a Care Leaver. But, in my case is not true in all areas. I am being listened to by the non Care Leaver Organisations, and am being listened to by LAC Services, which puzzles me even further.
My fear is, to not listen to the very Care Leavers who you claim to care about – but only until they reach 25 – breeds complacency and tunnel vision unsustainable strategies.
Jenny aka Hackney Child age 38.