Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Kiwifruit - a guest blogger. Part 3

One of the extreme frustrations of unpicking the experiences of former foster children is hearing the same negative experiences repeated ad infinitum. Across the years and across much of the English speaking world the same sense of institutional indifference, the same finance driven systems, the same casual disregard for promises made to the young person are described again and again and again.

George Santayana was a philosopher and writer. Famously he said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is sometimes presented as, “Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.”

Surely by now those put in authority over us should have realised two things. Firstly that all former foster children need emotional and financial support for far longer than the current system allows and secondly that the continuing underachievement of former foster children betrays both them and society at large.

It must be absolutely infuriating for victims of injustice, indifference or institutional incompetence to hear people attempt to diminish what has happened to them on the basis of “things have improved now”. What make it even worse is that this regrettably tactic is one that I have seen used by experienced professionals and by long term foster carers time and time again.

Within this group we have all heard from young people who have had entirely positive experiences within the foster care system. Didi comes to mind as does AC/DC. I don’t think that it is just co-incidence that those with positive experiences are also those more comfortable about sharing their thoughts with readers.

But Eve – so forthright in many parts of her life – has revealed very little about her life in the fostering system. However it is blindingly obvious that she had an incredibly difficult time with multiple placements followed by exile to a Childrens’ Home. It is the same story with many of Eve and Ella’s friends. I know the two of them have tried hard to get their friends to post here with only the most marginal of success.

Perhaps their friends fear the, implicitly sceptical, response that seems to be the default position of so many in the sector?
October 2013

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