Originally Posted by setanta1000
Hi Op - Fair play for doing this AMA; particularly at this time when homelessness and family are are in the news so much.
A few questions: I'm not sure how long ago you were state care but do you think the situation has improved (or gotten worse) now? Do you think someone in a similar position to yours would be treated any differently now?
Looking back now do you think people or the state could or should have done anything different to deal with your situation?
How do you look back on that time now - with anger / sadness / frustration - all of the above and more??
Hi Setanta1000 and thank you
I was in state care in the 1990s into the 2000s. When I look at one of the care unit's I was in today and compare it to my time it is very very different, children now have more of a voice than they ever did which is a good thing, while my own case was in the last 20 years and less it has definitely evolved.
What the state did was either rightly or wrongly, they kept pushing for me to be reintegrated into the family unit and saw very quickly that it wasn't working for a variety of reasons but ploughed on with it never the less despite my own opposition to it, the reason I wasn't listened to is because I was told, oh you're a minor and have no say over what happens, we as adults have that responsibility, it doesn't happen anymore thankfully as the feedback I get from residents in care now is the care is second to none bar not being allowed to have tv's in their bedrooms, which we were allowed but under very strict conditions, this was all before smart tv's etc and even mobile phones were in their infancy in the country.
The number 1 thing the state should have done I might add was put more effort into securing a roof over my head quicker than they did, if the same scenario occurred today it would not be allowed to happen, the reason I say this is I have met children who have come from similar backgrounds to my own with similar stories but they were placed in some form of care within hours either by the gardai or a social worker themselves. The critical part of it all is there was no out of hours social worker then and 20 years later it hasn't changed, these were some of the cracks I fell through at that time.
I look back on my time in care with happiness honestly and became very emotional when I had to eventually leave as the relationships I had built with many of the staff was so close that they felt like family to me, even today I maintain semi regular contact with them, they openly share their phone numbers with me, places of abode and even take time out of their personal lives to meet with me and my children .
The sadness and frustration come together to describe how my family treated the entire situation, while they did engage to an extent, it was on their terms or not at all, the care workers reluctantly agreed to this until one of them got in the middle of a dispute between myself and a family member one night that ended his career as a care worker due to a spinal injury received,then they pulled the plug altogether for safety reasons, thankfully it wasn't so severe that he could never work again, but just not in a high setting that is high tempered and volatile on a daily basis.