‘Never close to anyone’

Young people in care above all need people to
take them seriously and listen, writes Justin Dickson.

Going into care is a difficult transition for
a young person to deal with. It involves coming from a family
situation that a young person has been used to all their life and
going into a place where they know no one. It a scary time for
them, no matter how good or how bad their life at home may have

life at home wasn’t the best time for me. My mum used to drink a
lot and was verbally and physically abusive towards me, but I was
used to it because I didn’t know any better. I would always hear my
mum say I’m going to put you in care but I never thought it would
happen, even though the thought of being away from mum did make me
wish it would happen. I knew she wouldn’t be able to hurt me any
more and I would have some freedom to be a kid and do what I wanted
to do and not be afraid of doing something wrong.

it did happen, my mum went to see my headmaster at school and I was
called to his office while I was in geography class. He then told
me that I would be going away for a while because my mum needed
some time away from me, when in fact it was me that needed to be
away from her.

So I
was then taken to social services and put into their hands. It took
a while for me to get used to this new situation so I didn’t say or
do much at all. Looking back on my time in the care system I can
now say that it was a very lonely time for me and, although each
young person has a key worker to help and talk to them, it still
didn’t make me feel any better.

never felt close to any one and I never felt that anyone took a
great deal of interest in me, and now I can see that this was the
one thing I most needed. In a way I felt left to my own devices and
went off the rails, drinking, smoking, taking drugs and running
away to the west end of London to do all-nighters. I took advantage
of the situation I was in because I thought and knew I could get
away with it.

never had someone there to really talk to me and find out what was
going on inside or how I was feeling, or to ask about my future and
what I wanted. I never saw the carers as people I could trust or
even talk to. I just wish now that I had someone special to help me
and to comfort me in my time of need. I feel now that there were
problems in my life and even though they could be seen it was as if
no one ever tried to get to the bottom of them. I didn’t care much
about myself or the dangers I was putting myself in because I felt
no one else cared.

young people go into care it is vital that they open up to someone
and that they know that there are people that care for them in a
big way. The care system needs people that want to take interest in
young people’s lives. I mean it’s all well and good having people
there to make sure things run smoothly but that doesn’t mean
anything unless there are staff members who feel for these young

Justin Dickson is a care

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