Working in children’s social care doesn't come without its challenges. Budget cuts, spending reform, changes in legislation and staff turnover (just to name a few) must all be negotiated alongside caring for a child in need.
Many young people are coming into care from disadvantaged and/or neglectful backgrounds without appropriate boundaries. The change for these young people can be monumental, and the care team supporting these children must be up to the task. What isn’t documented often enough are the successes of social care.
Enter the Family Care team at Stamford House, one of our children’s homes in Oldham, Greater Manchester. John and Claire, manager and deputy manager at Stamford House, have been holding the fort together for almost 20 years. During that time, they have supported over 60 young people and remain in contact with many of them.
Moving to a children’s home will be a challenging and anxious experience for young people. Can you imagine driving somewhere to live with 3 or 4 other children you don't know, with a team of professionals you’ve never met, in a strange house you've never been to? In many ways, the care team must become a family for these children, guiding and encouraging appropriate behaviour with their fellow residents and acting in their best interests.
This can be a thankless task at times, but this letter from Taylor reminds us exactly why we do it. Taylor was a young woman who lived at Stamford House with John, Claire and the team for 7 years. She came from a background of neglect and exposure to drug abuse. Whilst living in foster care Taylor wasn’t attending school and would regularly go missing, often attempting to climb out of windows late at night. After living in several foster homes, it was decided that she should move to residential care.
Taylor arrived at Stamford House when she was 10 years old and started to thrive. She wasn’t going missing, wasn’t taking drugs and wasn’t climbing out of windows! At 17, Taylor was supported to move into her own flat and has since had her first baby boy. She is now about to start driving lessons with a grant from the Williamson Children’s Trust, Family Care's sister charity which provides financial support to young people leaving care.
Here is the letter Taylor wrote to Stamford House in August 2019;
Click the image above to enlarge.
This letter is testament to the consistent hard work and over-and-above attitude of John, Claire and the whole team at Stamford House. Their passion for helping children is enormous and they cannot be held in high enough regard. The work the whole team do, often under challenging and high-pressure circumstances, is a credit to themselves and to Family Care.
And it shouldn't be forgotten that Manchester choose Stamford House as Taylors' home. Local authorities will be the first to hear about mistakes they have made, but rarely draw praise for better judgements. Manchester should be commended for funding Taylors care and supporting her to remain at Stamford House.
We need more social care success stories like this, there is some amazing work going on with young people up and down the country and we need to shout about it more. Please join us in 'banging the drum' for professionals working with passion in children's social care.
Healing Pasts | Building Futures