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eJOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHILD AND YOUTH CARE NETWORK (CYC-Net) Ė ISSN 1605-7406

ISSUE 128 OCTOBER 2009 ē  CONTENTS ē  HOME PAGE

VOICES OF YOUTH

About care

The hardest part of living in care

By Haley Glaspy
I would have to say the hardest part about living in care would be when the agency does not let me see my mom or when my dad keeps my little sister away from me. This stuff really upsets me. I guess the way I cope is every time I do get to see my mom, things get better and we are getting closer too. So that gives me hope for the future. As for my dad and my little sister, it still really hurts but I do the best I can to look forward to the future. That always helps me cope better.

By James Riley
The hardest part I found about living in care is having to move from place to place, and having to deal with situations that bring me down to a lower standard. Having social workers, parents, teachers and group home staff telling you how to run your life is the main thing I found to be a pain. The way I try to cope with this problem is by talking to people I feel I have a connection with, and who understand or may have been in the same situations as I have been in. Sometimes, I keep these feelings and the frustrations inside and try not to blow.

By Milly Bagnold
Living in care presents several problems in my day to day life. To me, the hardest part is not having a ďfamily.Ē By family, I do not mean people who are simply related by blood or marriage. To me, family is people who love and genuinely care about one another. Sometimes, I donít feel like I have that. Whenever I go to a friendís house and see the way they interact with their parents and siblings, I canít help but be jealous. I envy even the friends who have separated families because they still have people to call mom or dad; they still have people to call family. I especially get sad on holidays because they are a time of family, and I donít have any. I get sad thinking about the future and how when I get married I wonít have anyone to give me away. Or I feel sad for my future children who will never know their grandparents on my side.

How has being in care changed my life in a positive way?

By Krista MacVicar
Being in care doesnít affect me as much now as when I was younger. When I was younger I was confused and angry, in pain and full of hate. Back then I didnít know what ďbeing in careĒ meant because I always felt that I would go back with my mother. But when that didnít happen, I started acting out and asking a lot of questions. When my questions were left unanswered I only began getting worse. But now I realize my questions will never get the answers I was looking for so I
ended up not asking anymore.

Being in care is a learning experience because I know what and how it feels to be put into a system that I and ďweĒ have no control. It has made me look at things more differently now than I have. Iíve learned to not head down the same path as my mother and not to make her mistakes. I am a better person now from being in care because if I wasnít I donít know what, who or where I would be. Being in care helped save my life.

How care has changed my life

By James Riley
Care has changed my life in so many ways that are positive. Care has drawn so many good people into being involved in my life: youth care workers, social workers, therapists, and teachers. All these people understand how my life in care may have been tough. They all know Iím trying to better my life for myself, and do what is right for me. I think care has made me learn to be a stronger person than who I may have been years back.

Living in care

By Hope Cochran
I had a rough experience over the summer this year. I believed one of my roommates blackmailed me and went rooting through my belongings in my room. Not to mention that no one is supposed to go in other peopleís room period. My privacy was violated and publicized to others in the home, and also others outside of the home. For the longest time, I stopped writing. It was my way of expressing how I felt about everything. It just so happens that this person found a very personal piece of writing that I wrote when I was very upset, so of course there were some things in there that had the potential to hurt other people, and it did. But since Iíve joined up with The Voice, my confidence in writing has improved. So even though something extremely unhappy happened, it turned out for the better in the end, and Iíve felt able to express myself
in ways even better than before.

How I would improve living in care

By Nathan Perry
I make living in care a better experience for me by thinking positively. Iíve got two families who love me for who I am. What would improve the system to be more positive and beneficial to youth is just listening to what the children have to say. Child support workers should see the
youth at least twice a month.

Positive memory of care

By Grace-Anne Timmins
I havenít been in care for very long, but I have many standout positive memories. I believe one was meeting all of the wonderful staff at Phoenix. I was so amazed by all of their personalities and how nicely they treated me. They made me feel very welcome, and instead of joining a program, I felt like I was joining a big family. They were also very supportive, and made sure I had everything I needed. This stands out to me because itís been a struggle to get where I am, and they helped so much. I feel like I can finally start over.

By Rachelle MacDonald
My best memory in care was meeting my mom and sisters. I started going out with this boy and one day I started talking about my mom and sisters. My boyfriend told me he knew them. So he told me where they lived and he took me the next day to see them. They were so happy to see me. I found out I had another sister, so now I have three. And one of my sisters was going to have a baby. That was the best day for me. I think if I never had gone to a group home I would never have found them.

By Johnathon Walker
A positive memory for me would have been when I first started to go into group homes and started getting clothing cheques and monthly allowances. I always had second hand clothes and then I got money for new clothes. This was awesome. Another memory about group homes was living in different cities and making lots of new friends. I never realized how many different people I knew until Facebook came out. I still talk to people in Amherst, Truro, Oxford, Sackville, Dartmouth, and Halifax. Being in care was positive and helped me get a lot with different resources. I never realized though until now that Iím getting older and need their resources. So thanks C.A.S. for giving me good advice and life skills.

By James Riley
Care has affected me in so many ways; it has made me look at things in a more positive way. Iíve been in care for more than seven years, so by now I know how the system works and runs. Iíve been from foster home to foster home, and from group home to group home. Now, I see how it may affect people in a negative way as well as in a positive way. The way I look at myself today, I see myself as a stronger and higher person than I might have been when I was younger. I have turned out to be a better person and look at things from a higher view.

Being in care has drawn a lot of people that really care about me into my life. Their support has helped me realize that there is a reason for things to happen and take place in the ways they do. Care, for me, has been half-good and half-bad. There are days I hate a lot of things about care but then, there are benefits from being in care. I thank all the people that continue to support and help me in my goals today.

This feature: Reproduced with pemission from The Voice, Issue 9. Youth in Care Newsletter Project, 2009.