My experience as a “care home kid”

1st April 2011

Last night on BBC 2 I watched Neil Morrissey in “Care Home Kid” – did you see it?

I watched and connected with Neil right from the start of the programme and knew the road he walked as my footsteps echoed his.  I hadn’t realised the programme was on until I was alerted about it and rushed to see it.

You see, I was raised in a children’s home (in my day they were known as Homes for Waifs & Strays) until aged nine years and I remember worrying, even at that age, how I would cope being thrust out into a world I had been shielded from. You feel different from other children.

I have watched so many young people come and go from the care homes I was in on a yearly basis and I used to believe they had been swallowed up by a nothingness that only existed in the outside world.  I knew my big brother was fast approaching this age, and would disappear like the rest of my family.  No one was able to give me proper answers.  My imagination was not happy.

What the authorities and people generally don’t realise is, we as children living together do look to each other ‘as family’, to lose them on a regular basis with no explanation other than - “they are old enough to live alone and so too will you – one day” this explanation was frightening because once left to live alone you were never seen again!

I didn’t want to be a big kid, a grown up with a future - I feared being old enough for what it meant to my reality at the time – disappearing without trace!

Thank you Neil for bringing your story as a care home kid to TV.  When people like you in the public eye and are well known, bring their personal stories to us via the TV, it enables many people otherwise oblivious to such things to know a little more.

I detail my early years accounts as a care home kid in A House Full of Whispers, available on Amazon.

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