I don't know if anyone listened to Akhandadhi Das' Thought for The Day on radio 4 this morning but it was an interesting, thought provoking comment on how society is letting down teenagers in care. He told the story of Colin who felt that when he was classed as an adult it wasn't him who left social care, it was the care that left him.
Many people I know (especially my Dad) frequently joke that they will be responsible for their children until their death beds, although, I am sure that they like me want our children to grow up to be independent, well rounded, happy adults. We also want them to know that we are there, not only to share their happiness but also to help them in times of difficulty all be it emotionally, financially or practically. Children that grow up in care don't have this kind of support and after reading a couple of articles I was shocked all though not surprised to see that in the Prison Reform Trust 2010-11 annual survey of 15-18 year olds in prison found that more than a quarter of boys (27%), and over half of girls (55%), had been in care at some point before being sentenced to custody. A study quoted in The Guardian stated that a third of those sleeping rough had come from the care system and that only 6% of children in care went on to attend university (about a third of the general population have that opportunity.) When we hear about or see little children being removed from their families by social services we see captivating, innocent and vulnerable youngsters being taken from dangerous and or neglectful environments hoping that they will be able to have a better, more fulfilling life but, this is not always the case. Perhaps we should try to remember those captivating, innocent and vulnerable faces when we read about teenagers being sent to prison or when we walk past homeless teenagers on the street.
I have added links below if you would like to read more.