Care Convos November

The next #CareConvos will be this MonDAY 4th Nov 2019, 8pm and the topic is… *RELATIONSHIPS*.

Some interesting reflections on relationships from academics with care experience:


For me the most difficult relationships were during my days at school when I was aged between 5 and 12. I went to about 20 primary schools due to so many moves – foster care; resi care; salvation army care; orphanage style care; emergency hostel care, on the streets with no care, et cetera. I never experienced forming long term school friends or getting to know a geographical area. There are so many rites of passage that so many people take for granted that I didn’t do  – I don’t feel sad or anything, just different– the quintessential outsider. I lived on and off with my mother too, who was also constantly on the move due to pretty extreme domestic violence and drugs. To this day I struggle with the idea of families that have long established friendship groups and relations who shared xmas, and or birthdays, and even went on holidays together — the taken for granted ways of doing things that a lot of us didn’t experience. I went on camp as a child – but it was a camp that was designed for poor/at-risk kids and I was hand-picked from the school by teachers and told I was to attend –  so even camp was weird, and there I was again, with a group of complete strangers aged 10. After 14 days at camp I went back to my mother, then back into care and so on. My own children have brilliant long-term relationships and old school friends. They are in their mid to late 20s now and I watch how they live with their well-established networks and friendship groups they have known since primary school –  for me it is just so wonderful to see, but also a stark reminder of what might have been. The trick is to take that feeling and make it positive. It’s not always easy. Mostly it is Ok, but there are days when you can fall down.


Relationships in my life have never been straightforward! Trust has always been a huge issue. I don’t think that is a ‘bad’ thing, it is just part of the make-up of lived care experience. Many people in my past have let me down, that is a fact. But there have also been people who supported me, cared about me and loved me. I’m still in contact with some ‘old’ school friends and we meet up a few times a year. We know each other really well and there is a comfortableness that goes with our friendships. We can laugh, joke and cry if we need too.

I’d say a difficult period in my life re relationships was when my children were at school. I just couldn’t find a place to fit in. It felt like the choice was either a group of boozy, smoking swearering mums or middle-class mothers. My then husband encouraged one relationship and it was disastrous – she stole jewellery from us! It was awful and the trust issues became even worse. However, I did make a few good relationships in the area where I lived in North London. They were mainly middle-class in that they owned their own very expensive houses and we were the only council-house-family in the road, but overall they were very welcoming. It was a time when children still played in the street, the last generation I think. I look back with fondness and good memories. My children were loved and we had a lot of fun.

Through my writing and creative channels I now have many writing friends, a musician fella which is always a work-in-progress, some amazing #CEP friends, a close relationship with my daughter and grandchildren and a wonderful co-production relationship through the #CareConvos project. With age comes a comfortableness with who I am and it is this more than anything that has changed my life and given me a confidence to pursue friendships.


What immediately came to mind when I saw this months #CareConvos topic – was an evening with the parents of my youngest daughter’s then best friend. I suppose Jemma would have been about 7 so I would have been about 46, and a competent woman. I ran a household, had begun a PhD, did part time paid work, and had published a couple of pieces. But I went into a curious anxious space when the conversation turned to family relationships. The other couple talked about their close knit families from a country town – close knit communities – and then they asked Tony about his family – and you don’t get more ‘normal’ and middle class than that. I got more and more concerned waiting to be asked about my family because then I’d have to out myself as a former foster kid in a setting of 3 ‘normal’ families. I’d be very much the odd one out.

It was curious, too, that they never got to asking anything about me – curious and a relief.

I’m not sure whether it was their lack of interest in me, or whether I wanted to go on avoiding outing myself, but I didn’t return the dinner invitation and invite the family over to ours! Which in retrospect was very rude of me.

Join us for #CareConvos to talk about RELATIONSHIPS this monday 4th Nov 8pm!

#CARE EXPERIENCED #Foster & #Kinship Carers, #Residential Care workers, #Educators, #Adoptopters #Adopted #SocialWorkers and all professionals working with young people or in the system.

all welcome! We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives.


If there is anything about #CareConvos that affects you and you’d prefer to ask a question or make a point anonymously drop us an email at: and we’ll get back to you. #CareConvos

The GDPR introduced a right for individuals to have personal data erased. The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten‘. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. If you want to delete any of your tweets in #CareConvos, you can do that yourself. If they appear on the website, just ask and we will remove them

Putting children in care and care experience
at the 💙 of our conversations.

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