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My Care Experience

Anch0r33Anch0r33 Posts: 932 Part of The Mix Family
I've been wanting to write this for a while but I've been struggling a lot recently and haven't been in the right mindset. I think it's about time I share - the more I share the better I feel and when I don't let it all out, everything just builds up. It's been building up a lot recently.

I've had a very adverse childhood experience and although I was lucky enough to live abroad without my family - this was, to me, considered being in care as much as when I was in care over here.

I want to write a bit about everywhere I've lived. Another time I'll write a bit about each placement/living arrangement. Maybe I'll work through that in the comments as I go along.

Up until I was 7, nearly 8 I can only really remember one house - but by this age I'd moved 4 times. I moved school 3 times over two schools over this time. I lived with a mixture of my parents (only as a young baby), my mum's parents (with my mum too) and my single mum.

I then moved to what I consider my *childhood* home. I stayed here with my mum. This was where all the issues really started and ultimately social work were involved.

At the age of 14 I went into kinship care with my grandparents. The same day that social work saw me for the first time, they did a home visit and removed me immediately.

I lived there until I was 16.

Then I moved abroad and lived in a group home setting. I stayed there for a few months. I struggled a lot but learned a lot too.

I then was placed with a family and stayed there for about 8 months.

Then I spent the summer months back with my grandparents.

Then I moved abroad again and lived in dorms. We had our own rooms but there was about 20 of us in the female forms and about 20 in the male dorms. I lived here for about 10 months.

During the period of 16-18 I not only lived in the main placements, but I also experienced respite type placements when my primary care givers were unable to look after me for whatever reason - sometimes it was work commitments and other times it was due to fall outs where I was just struggling and lashed out and was just stubborn tbh. I can remember at least 3 different houses that I stayed in that weren't my primary place of residence and there was multiple times I stayed at each of these. We also travelled a hell of a lot so stayed in multiple different hotels - which again sounds great but it was disruptive to our learning which wasn't ideal.

It can be very disruptive and unsettling.

My schooling looked like this -

P1 - school A
P2 - school b
P3 - school b
P4 - school a
P5 - school a
P6 - school a
P7 - school a
S1 - school c
S2 - school c
S3 - school d
S4 - school d
11th grade - school e
12th grade - school f

So I went to 6 different schools over 14 years. 4 different high schools.

Although social work decided that my care experience was not formal, I do not feel this way and that's okay. I have been told my care experience is valid and with the support of people on here I have accepted that although I'm not legally a care leaver, I should have been. If procedures had been followed correctly I would have been most likely in a residential care placement or if I was one of the lucky teens I'd have got a foster placement.

During my time in different places I learned how to be a teenager and a functional member of society - this is why I class these experiences as care as well. Not just my kinship care but the residential and foster style placements may have been for academics and athletics but they helped me learn how to be a person that wasn't abused or neglected. My needs were met and it's about time I realised that my experiences are valid.

I hope you all enjoyed this read and I'm open to any questions if anyone has any!


  • natalie_bnatalie_b Posts: 45 Moderator
    Thank you for sharing @Anch0r33! It must've been hard going to so many different schools and I can imagine how unsettled you felt at times. It's no wonder you feel your education was affected, it must be hard to pick up topics at different points in different schools. Did you have any subjects you really enjoyed despite changing schools so often?

    I think this is really important for others to see, the care setting for children can be so complicated and clearly it wasn't a straightforward process for you! Did you make friends through the residential placements you had?

    Please continue sharing if you feel you want to, we want to support you and I think it will really help others in a similar position. Your experiences are always valid and you have a right to feel however you do about your life and past. How do you feel about your experience now @Anch0r33? <3

  • Anch0r33Anch0r33 Posts: 932 Part of The Mix Family
    @natalie_b thanks for this! I was always pretty consistent with English and I now take that at uni. My two years at school d were very rough. That was my first exam years and the years that I went into care. The school didn't want me to sit my national 5s because I had about a 50% attendance and I hadn't done enough of the course work. I ended up only completing 2 nat 5s and I got an A and a B.

    I then moved abroad and was put in the wrong grades. I did maths at 11th grade (where I did it at nat 4) and English at 10th grade (where I got a B at Nat 5 for that). Maths caused me a major issue because I essentially skipped a year and had no idea what I was doing. Somehow I passed it but yes it was rough.

    Then after that I went into 12th grade for all my subjects so essentially jumped again. It was a bit of a mess but I graduated and passed.

    I still talk to one of the girls that I lived with. We ended up moving to the foster type placement together. The rest of them weren't great tbh, that's why we ended up getting moved as it wasn't working for us. I struggled in the group setting and really needed more specialised care.

    Care absolutely isn't straight forward at all. Most people think you're put in a foster home and that's it but it's really anything and everything from respite to cared for at home to foster to residential. It's such a mess and so unsettling. They don't have to keep you at the same school and can even move you council areas or cross country.

    I'll work on talking about each placement in following comments! It's nice to talk about it and feel heard.
  • Anch0r33Anch0r33 Posts: 932 Part of The Mix Family
    So living with my grandparents in kinship care - I had my own room. It was 2 single beds but turned into one double for myself. My mum used to share a bedroom if we ever slept over but once I moved in it turned into only my room. I took some time to make the place my own, I decorated the walls and things like that. I remember I used to get upset watching my mum go home. I was 14 and I'd wave from my bedroom window and feel very emotional.

    I was the one that called social work on her and yet here I am safe but feeling upset that I no longer lived with her.

    I got fed every day here but I still was a difficult child.

    I got in a lot more arguments with my grandparents. Something I never did before. I'd never heard my grandad swear until I moved in with him.

    I often refused to get up for school. I struggled a lot. I'd moved schools 5 times by now. I was supported in the pupil support classroom but for so long they didn't know what was going on with me or why I was so reserved and struggling.

    I remember one time at school I went mute for a week. My dad had messaged me on Facebook for the first time in years and I did not know how to process it. So much in my life was changing and this was the final straw. I hardly went to any of my classes and just sat silent in the pupil support classroom. I remember one day later in the week being pulled into a separate classroom and being told that they couldn't support me if they didn't know what was going on. They ended up having me write out what was bothering me.

    This time in my life was very tough. I broke my arm doing my judo and was in a sling. I couldn't do anything, not even write since it was my writing arm. I became depressed and struggled so much more.

    I shut everyone out and just kicked off at my grandparents.

    There was times when I refused to get out of bed and I'd end up in a tug of war match with my grandad over my covers. I would kick and scream and it was horrible. I hate that I was like this, but I know it wasn't my fault.

    There was a time during my break between being abroad where I slept in my grans study room. It felt like I'd been moved to yet another place. I can't remember why I couldn't sleep in my room but I couldn't. I remember staying up late at night and printing pictures on A4 paper off of my favourite ice hockey players. It was all in black and white because my grans printer didn't use ink.

    I remember when I came back from being abroad I lived with them for another year or so. I struggled with sleeping and would often lie awake at night, wondering what I did to deserve the life I was handed.

    I started falling asleep to meditations and bedtime stories.

    I can't fall asleep in silence anymore. We have to have the radio on or something. It reduces the nightmares that I was so accustomed to.

    I remember one time when we still had the single beds I had my first blackout. Instead of waking my grandparents up I called my mum instead. It was the middle of the night and she had to drive to get me and go to A&E. I'd burst a bit of skin on my collar bone and hit my head when I fell.

    My grandparents told me in the future that I could wake them up but I always felt so awkward. I remember the one time I did wake them up. Our dog had started barking so I went to check on her. She'd detected a drip in the ceiling and I went to get my grandparents. My dog potentially stopped the ceiling falling through. What a good girlie.

    The time at my grandparents was years but I can only remember a few memories. It doesn't feel super long but hey I guess that's what trauma does to you. It wipes your memories.
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