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to be really upset by this, is it the norm? Leaving 'care'?

(64 Posts)
JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 25-May-11 12:19:41

We have been staying in temp accomadation for several months now after being made homeless, a nice bnb which is 3 houses on one bit of land iyswim, anyway in our time there we have got to know the other people in the same situation, several of which are young boys, and 2 girls. On turning 16 they were placed there until 18, to old for childrens home, too young to be independant. it is just so sad, one young lad weve grown quite close to being only 22 and 24 ourselves we have a fair bit im common, he just seriously needs mothering and i was just curious, does this happen everywhere? are these 'children' just forgotten? he lives on £40 pwk and has nothing in his life, between me and the cleaner we have gotten him into a college course and hes far happier but i just cant help worrying how many more are there?

mrspear Wed 25-May-11 12:23:23

Please see here:

care law

They should be fostered until 18 then be supported until need be.

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 25-May-11 12:25:33

thanks, will read through after fetching ds from preschool.

this is something thats dominating my thoughts, one of the young girls has gotten pregnant as its her only way out of there sad one of the lads reached 18 and all he could do was go to the council and declare himself homeless, they stopped paying for his room on his birthday, hes now on the 'crash pad' at the YMCA

fiveisanawfullybignumber Wed 25-May-11 12:28:15

From what I've heard yes.sad A poor lad at DD1's school was in the same position. His life sounded well & truly screwed up by his mother, he'd been in and out of care homes etc. Just before his GCSE's he turns 16 and has nowhere to go as his mother has thrown him out again. He was suspended from school but ended up on the roof, threatening to throw himself off. School was the only place he wanted to be, where he felt he belonged apparently. So so sad, another wasted life.
Great that you and the cleaner got him onto a college course, maybe you can stay in contact as a kind of mentor figure, I'm sure he'd like that too by the sounds of it. You may be the people to stop his life sliding into ruin.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 25-May-11 12:32:40

The terrific people at Kids Company are very active in this area.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 25-May-11 12:38:25

That's not what happens for those already in the care system, they stay with foster carers til 18.

It is what happens when they leave care of their own volition or when they are not in the system and just kicked out by parents.

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 25-May-11 12:39:11

that is so sad five, the lad we have helped is the only one there who hasnt turned to heavy drugs, its like they have no reason to live so they are doing what they can to pass the days until the inevitable, i hope we can stay in contact with him, dp finds him hard at times as he isnt keen on a young lad being close to me but its been spoken about and lines drawn so he understands he has no one and i am kind to him. right really must collect ds will check back later

neverforgethowmuchiloveyou Wed 25-May-11 12:54:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neverforgethowmuchiloveyou Wed 25-May-11 12:57:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EricNorthmansMistress Wed 25-May-11 13:55:29

JJ I'm a leaving care worker. That's certainly not what should happen (though I can believe that some LAs do not discharge their legal duties properly)

They have the right to a named worker until 21, and support to find suitable accommodation when they leave care. Also support with education/training/employment. OFSTED will hammer them if they are letting this happen. We just had ours, and although we're pretty shit hot at careleaver support there were areas they insisted on improving. If the LA doesn't do it then OFSTED send in an enforcer type taskforce and apparently it's horrible so noLA wants that.

You should find out/help them find out if there is an independent advocacy service for young people in care. We have one and they are a pain in the arse great at challenging our failings.

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 25-May-11 13:56:17

im not sure of all the stories, but two were in a childrens home from under 10, at 16 put in a bnb... going to have a read up. I dont doubt they may have their problems, im yet to meet someone whos ended up in care who doesnt but still i cant believe how often this happens.

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 25-May-11 14:00:28

x post eric.

they all have social workers but in the 4mnths ive been there only one has showed up, once. And that was because she wanted to know i was ok with having him hang around with us...? she didnt even see him or speak to him, just me and bnb owner. he is on a residential trip this week with the course he is on, he needed a permission slip signing so rang his sw and she said get bnb owner to, luckily the bnb owner is a lovely lady and also helped him gather what he needed to go away however surely she cant sign to say he can go away?

posterofagirl Wed 25-May-11 14:02:12

Sadly this does happen to some kids because they effectivley discharge themselves from care at 16 thinking they can cope in the real world and not wanting to have foster carers/residential workers providing boundaries for them.

The law has been very slack in this area for to long because I honestly believe that if young people knew they had to stay with adults until they were 18 they would be a lot more settled.

Who didn't think they knew best when they were 16?

(have been managing children's residential homes for 10 years so fair bit of expeirience with this sad unnacceptable bit of the care process)

MrsVidic Wed 25-May-11 14:05:56

I manage a sheltered accommodation for homeless people with high support needs usually drug/ alcohol addicts and prison leavers. We are inundated with referrals from social services for care leavers

saffy85 Wed 25-May-11 14:12:01

I don't know how common it is but 10 years ago when I was doing my GCSEs at a referral unit there was a boy in my year who at 15 was living in a bnb after being put into care. His board was paid for and he was given an allowance each week that was meant to be used to feed himself (was spent on fags and green instead). Another girl in my class was moved from a childrens home to the YMCA the week after her 16th birthday. I'd always thought you had to be 18 to live there.

From what they both said it was quite normal. There just wasn't space for them elsewhere. Think it's really sad. Don't get me wrong, neither of these people were angels but they must have felt so alone being dumped in those places.

NerfHerder Wed 25-May-11 14:12:07

This is what happens.

Put into 'independent living' flats on their 16th birthday, 10 miles or more away from their school so they have to travel miles each way every day, shop, cook, and do their own laundry etc, whilst trying to do their GCSEs, let alone stay on after Y11, and we wonder why they do so badly in terms of attainment?

Put into hostels with long-term substance abusers/addicts, people with severe mental ill health problems, people fresh out of prison etc, just on the other side of the door to their room, howling, ranting up and down corridors, banging on everyone's door all night whilst you're trying to study, or sleep.

16+ workers with such high caseloads that unless you're on their doorstep everyday asking for help you're not likely to get a look in- they silently hope care leavers will commit crime, just so the criminal justice system can pick them up, and take them off their books...

I could go on.

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 25-May-11 15:02:48

its making me seriously consider fostering an older child, the lad in question has made mistakes but nothing too awful, hes adorable and great with my dcs, id be honoured to help someone like him actually have a chance in life instead of a dead end.

LDNmummy Wed 25-May-11 15:14:35

Its not what should happen but that is what they do. I know a ton of people who this happened to when I was younger and this was only a few years ago.

michelleseashell Wed 25-May-11 15:32:17

This is what happens to children who are placed in care but not on a care order. So their parents don't want them but they haven't been removed from them by the courts.

On their 16th birthday, they are moved out (not by choice) to any hostel or b&b that will take them. They are supposed to be looked after by a social worker and supported by them but that often doesn't happen. They are given a very small amount of money to buy a few pots and pans and bed sheets and then left to fend for themselves.

I know this because it happened to me.

After three months, I was told that I was only entitled to £7.50 a week to live on. I moved out of the hostel because it cost me £5 a week board and lived on various friends floors. I started taking a lot of drugs to make things easier and because the people I knew were doing the same. After six months I became so malnourished that my periods stopped. My social worker only contacted me once to visit me and lied that he had tried to see me at an address I was staying. He did that because he could. When I was 17 I met a girl who took me in and told me that the whole time I had been starving and eating other people's leftovers, I was actually entitled to income support. She let me stay in her house until it came through and then arranged for me to stay in proper supported housing once I could apply for housing benefit. My periods started again when I was 18. I got into college and got my own house and a job.

This all happened ten years ago and I am now happily married with a child. You wouldn't know it to look at me. I'm one of the lucky ones.

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 25-May-11 15:38:32

michelle sad that is just so sad. i am so glad things worked out for you, im going to make sure i keep a hand in this boys life and do what i can for him. i cant believe this happens...

michelleseashell Wed 25-May-11 15:42:57

I know. That poor boy. It makes you really wonder how a parent could abandon their child like that. And why the government doesn't take responsibilty for them. A 16 year old is still a child. What used to upset me was, I wasn't old enough to buy alcohol or see an 18 certificate film.. but yet I was old enough to go through all that.

Thank you, I am very happy now. I wouldn't be where I am now unless I'd walked that path so I see it as fate. I just worry for people like the boy in your story.

EricNorthmansMistress Wed 25-May-11 15:57:40

nerfherder - that doesn't happen everywhere, I promise you.

Michelle - the leaving care act was brought in in 2000 to deal with circumstances like yours. Of course some areas ignored it for a while and there were teething problems in implementing, I've been through many changes, seen legal challenges etc (been doing it since 2004) but when it is implemented properly, it works to protect children like you. We see no distinction in entitlement between those who are FCO and Sec20 once they turn 16 or 18. Only if they return to parents post 16 do they get deaccommodated but they still have a service.

MountainDew Wed 25-May-11 16:04:34

Ditto Michelle. Sorry to hear you went through the same.

I was 16, thrown out by my parents, placed in a hostel with no support at all, and then told I wasn't entitled to any financial help because I was still at school. They said if I drop out of school I will get money. No chance. Instead I just worked bloody hard. Hated the hostel, had terrible experiences there. I went to school during the day, worked as a waitress in the evening, and worked in a shop on the weekends. Eventually I saved up enough money to move myself out and into a house share. Then bought a house aged 18, did OU degree and got married, got a career, had a family, etc etc. None of my friends now know about my past. (Obv. DH does...)

Like Michelle I got involved in drink and drugs, didn't eat, was a mess. Life was just a mess. You would NEVER know this if you met me now. I don't think I am ashamed as such. It wasn't my ruddy fault! I was a child, just like the care leavers you talk about. It is so so sad. I don't know. I don't even think about it much. It was a lifetime ago. I am a bit ashamed though. I don't want people to think 'her own mother didn't want her - must be something wrong then. I'll stay well clear'. I am suprised when people like me. I don't want to ruin it by giving them a reason to be wary of me.

michelleseashell Wed 25-May-11 16:06:05

That's good to know. This did happen after 2000 but not much after. I thought of making a complaint about the social worker but it's been too long and I don't think anyone would believe me. I once fainted with hunger in the reception of social services but still no one helped me.

What makes me really angry is that social worker was in our local paper recently for all his 'good work'. It took me a lot of effort not to write in and complain but I didn't.

MountainDew Wed 25-May-11 16:09:55

x post Eric,
I'm glad to hear there are changes. I am only young still. This happened to me in 2003. I must have lived somewhere with teething problems! I just felt like a nuisance. School didn't help, the hostel managers didn't help, nobody seemed to think I was their responsibilty. Which is why I took responsibility for myself. Which is shit. I was so young. sad

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