I've been thinking about people's reactions to our agreement to meet with child 4's birth parents today. Probably because there have been some very different reactions. Many people think that we were very brave, (although in comparison to the birth parents courage in agreeing to meet us, I dont think that we are brave at all). Some couldn't understand why we would want to meet them and I think that even though I said we didn't have to, they secretly thought that we must have been given little choice and then there was the odd one who just wanted to know all the "gory" details.
I have found that some of the community that we are part of (local and social media wise) have already made their minds up about the type of people, who's children end up in care. It's food for thought, what do you really think about these birth parents?
Its so hard for us to keep our emotions in check when we read that 28,220 children were taken into care in England during the year 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. 56% of those, a huge 15,670 of these children started to be looked after because of abuse or neglect.
On average a child is killed by a parent (birth, step,foster or adoptive) every 10 days, a baby every 20 days.
According to national statistics there are are approx 10,466700 school age children in the UK so 0.15% of those have been taken into care due to concerns about their welfare.
I think that it is really important that we do not stereo type all those who have had their children taken away by social services, the majority love their children, they did not think "oh let's have a baby so that we can neglect or abuse him." For so many reasons they are just not capable of looking after their children. When I think of having mine, my parents, family and friends were all around to help. My mum was with me and my husband when all three were born, she then helped with the older ones or just babysat for a few hours to give me a break and she was always there if I needed advice or a shoulder to cry on. I relied on the midwife and health visitor asking for help if I needed it because it never crossed my mind that anyone would think I was so bad a parent that they would take my child away. Those like child 4's birth parents don't have a support network like I do, they would probably avoid health professionals for fear of what they might do or report.
In the blog update on 10 May I spoke about how so many of those who are incarcerated, homeless, or are addicts of some kind came from being in care. I finished it with what I hoped was a thought provoking sentence about children in our care system. "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." Today I think that we should perhaps think about those young children, they will grow into adults and unless we step in they will continue the cycle of their own childhoods because they won't know any better.