Month: June 2021

Parenting a disabled child is lonely – so I built an app to help us find each other

Finding people in similar situations nearby and the services you need is a challenge for families like mine

It was 10 June 2015. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Maisie, our cherished baby, was making her way into the world. At 7.14pm, Maisie made her appearance. A mop of thick black hair, a cute button nose and chubby little fingers that curled lovingly around my hand.

This is it, I thought. I’m head over heels in love.

Continue reading…

Pandemic or no pandemic, young people should not ‘age out’ of care

Care leavers are vulnerable to exploitation and destitution. They deserve protection after the threat of the virus has receded

My daughter has just left home. Well, she has, and she hasn’t: despite the mountain of stuff she took with her to university, her room is still full. And despite her much-anticipated independence, she still phones or texts several times a day. I forward her mail, answer her culinary questions, sympathise at 2am when there’s a loud party keeping her awake and grant access to the bank of mum and dad. She may not be living under my roof, but I am her safety net emotionally, financially and practically. Perhaps I always will be.

This is what virtually every parent offers and what virtually every child expects. Except for foster children: when they become adults, they leave without the prospect of this ongoing supportive relationship. Those who have already lost out on a chunk of their development – through the trauma of neglect, abuse and relationship breakdown – lose out again at the other end of their childhood as they face the world alone. Care leavers begin adult life doubly disadvantaged, often with nobody to cheer them on.

Continue reading…