Child Protection for the Autistic Child - A Resource
Meaning -'' lack of success, the neglect or omission of expected or required action.''
In most cases if a child enters Care there will have been a catastrophic failure in one or more spheres - in a parent’s capacity to safely support their child at home for whatever reason, in service’s ability to support parents in their parenting role, in the State’s failure to invest in an environment where families (one of the key building blocks of society?) are supported. In most cases the Care system is the safety net for children and young people when one or more of these failures have occurred.
In my own case, by the time my son entered Care I was at my wit’s end. I had tried everything I could to get help for him and the effort brought me closer to my breaking point that anything I’d experienced before or since. I felt as though I was fighting for his life largely unsupported. I’m sure there were those who believe I was too interventionist because of my own fears and those who believe if only I’d been a better mother that there would not have been these problems. What I would say to the people who feel I was too interventionist is “I did not make the decisions by and large. My son and the various professionals who became involved because of my interventions to try and make things better for him, did.”
I do not see my son now nor do I know how he lives, what he lives on, if his hayfever is affecting him at the moment, whether he eats, whether his clothes or shoes fit him, whether he has a dentist or a doctor and who he turns to when he needs help. I’m also aware that his former corporate parent is in the same position. Even if they did, as I was told again and again, they would feel their duties around confidentiality to him would mean that I could not be told anything about his wellbeing. In my dealings with professionals I only met one doctor who unambiguously crossed the ever present red line about sharing. I am very grateful to him for this because it often seemed to me that 'not sharing' with me was damaging for my son and turned into a pointless exercise in inhumanity and cruelty to me.
Is that the price of failure? If so whose?
The thing that gives me comfort when I try to make sense of it all is knowing that I tried to do the right thing at the right time with the resources available to me in each and every situation. I do not have regrets on that front although I know I probably made some wrong moves along the way. I am hopeful that some of these may yet come right. No one knows what the future holds and life is nothing if not unpredictable. It is a better strategy to hope than worry when you cannot affect outcomes.
With my very mixed experiences, I always feel nervous when I hear the case being made, generally by people involved within it in one capacity or another, that the Care system is inherently good. Do we want anyone’s child to have to experience what my son did, what our family did and then call it a good outcome because the Care system was there for him? Do we want any child or young person to face such an uncertain future, essentially alone and unsupported, as he does now that he is a Care Leaver?
I want the best Care system possible for children like my son who enter it because whoever has failed or wherever failures have occurred, children affected pay the highest price and the failures are never theirs. They must never be failed further by a broken safety net nor a cut-price Care system.
It is essential and right that the Care system exists. It represents a failure on very many fronts that it has to.
See -https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/15/divorce-miscarriage-jobs-learn-to-embrace-failure-elizabeth-day - Blame