Thursday, 1 March 2007

Kids in Care

I’ve been working with disadvantaged young people for over a decade now but I still get surprised by how those from the most damaging of circumstances are able to rise above and not get dragged down by the negativity of their past, so that they can make a better future for themselves.

Last week I was lucky enough to work with some young people who are in care, statistically some of the most disadvantaged individuals in the whole of Britain, those who are dealt a particularly rough hand and more importantly have been starved of that most crucial criteria for secure growth: love from your parents.

I’m glad that I can’t understand how a parent cannot love their own flesh and blood and turn their back on that child so that it has to learn to struggle on its own two feet without any of the support structures most of us take for granted. The young people I worked with were making this journey and it was a pleasure to meet them and make some theatre.

As we talked and played and created, took risks and laughed together, I was reminded of the essential human truth: that no matter what struggle, what pain, what terrible journey any of us has been on we can all move on; we do not need to stay stuck, lost in that destructive place but instead use the dark past to fuel a brighter future.

To those young people I worked with, I salute you.


  1. The research says the human mind's ability to overcome varies greatly by the individual.

    Two people in exactly the same circumstances might come out in strikingly different ways, whether that's the development of depression and anxiety in adults abused as children or the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in combat veterans.

    Makes me wish I was a bit stronger myself....

  2. Deep post, both sad and inspirational.

    Found your blog through Matt's AnimalMind blog.

    BTW, I love GB. After college I lived in London for a while, so I could work at the Financial Times. I used to catch the train to Cambridge on weekends and spend days digging through the used book shops.

    I'll stop rambling now, but cool blog. I'll be back to read more.

  3. Nice photo. Reaffirms the value of play.

  4. Very powerful well written post.

    My computer wasd down, so I used the library computer. For some reason, your blog is stopped by the censoring filters.

  5. Interesting comments there Dan. I must say though, I can understand why parents sometimes turn their backs on their children. Does that sound cold?
    I remember as a child, my parents used to foster kids and each child's story was very different..different circumstances had meant that they had to go into care - sometimes abuse, sometimes no extended family to help, sometimes mental breakdown of the mother/father and therefore not being able to function on a level needed to nurture a child, sometimes addiction, in fact, many different things.
    I've also worked with Mums who've left and indeed had their kids taken away from them due to their addiction/mental health/other problems. I think it must be one of the most saddest things in the world as a parent, to know that you've given a child up for care, for whatever reason...most of those I've worked with, miss their kids terribly and have huge guilt and regret about how their lives have turned out and indeed never wanted this to be the case. I guess I'm seeing this from both sides really..
    The film 'The Hours' is quite interesting regarding this issue, not so much about kids going into care though but more about a mother who decides to leave her children..I love this film and I think it gives good insight too, about the difficult choices women sometimes feel the need to make.
    I wish we had a society where we all helped each other more I guess, with the nurturing and bringing up of kids..lending a hand to those in real need, before things get too out of hand, having someone to call on when things get really rough..However, thank God we do have a system that helps children in need, albeit its failings, I would hate to think this provision wasn't available for vulnerable kids..
    Anyway Dan, good for you for having such a lovely time with these little angels, I'm sure they'll have fond memories and I bet you brought a ray of sunshine to their playful day.


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