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The Care Vortex (excerpt)

By  Sam Smith

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Profile: Abigail Walton

Age: 12

Mother: Hazel Walton

Father: Michael James Walton

Siblings: None

Ethnic origins: British

History: Abigail raised in  small village, only child, difficult birth. Father a gamekeeper. Mother's brother, Ivor Darsk, came to live with family when Abigail 6. Brother began sexually abusing Abigail when 7. Abigail disclosed to mother. Mother refused to  believe, branded Abigail as "wicked." Abigail became problem at school - disruptive in class, truanting. Expelled from village school when 9, had to attend school in next village. Uncle, Ivor Darsk, drove her. Abuse continued, became full intercourse.

Abigail came to attention of Social Services - failure to thrive (bulimia?) When Abigail 10 father, Michael Walton, learnt of abuse. He  shot and killed Ivor Darsk. While on remand hung himself. Abigail said to be out of control and taken into care. Mother receiving psychotherapy. Both Abigail's foster placements quickly broke down. Placed in Children's Home. Attacked female member of staff. Placed with single woman foster. Stole from her. In next foster placement made sustained sexual advances to foster father. Cut on rejection. Absconded - slept rough. Placed out of county.

Considerations: Abigail has difficulty forming relationships. She tends to go from one group to another telling tales on each, finds herself inevitably isolated in the middle.

Cautions: Abigail makes sexual advances towards all males (though, if these are turned aside, she can form good relationships with male staff.) Abigail has an angry attitude towards older women. Has cut in past, bulimic when stressed. Also into solvent abuse. Smokes. Attacked one female RSW  with broken bottle. RSW reqd. stitches. Any contact with mother, Hazel Walton, to be through SW.

"Fostering can be viewed as a wholly bogus set up. Especially with the expectation of the fosterers to be regarded as, and treated as, the only parents. This attitude, inherent anyway in the situation, and if blatant often hidden from SWs, creates all sorts of dynamics within dynamics. The child acquires a distaste, a contempt for the fosterers because they are not 'real'; and hand in glove with this contempt for the fosterers grows an idealisation of the natural parents. This idealisation, the abused child knows, is undeserved; and so they blame this inappropriate idealisation on the fosterers who caused it. And look for other reasons to hate them. Fosterers are usually middle class, not 'real' people like their fractious, neglectful, harmful, natural parents. Better by far, these children decide, a children's home. No expectations to be 'normal' there, of what passes for somebody's normal outside..." Arnum's Anatomy of Social Work. K Arnum. Lewis & Co. 1992.

"Social Workers and Specialist Teachers walk around with all these case histories, miniature Belsens, inside their heads. This knowledge must affect the way they view life, must affect their ability to form and sustain relationships, both domestic and professional. What effect, one has to ask, does this have on the dynamic of the Residential School?" Caring For Children In Care. A Kotrell. University press. 1993.

"To know and remain innocent, that's the trick. To know and not be tainted by the knowledge, that's the hard part." The Maladjusted Worker. J Fromes. Hippinshel & Co. 1992.

Read IN's exclusive interview with Sam Smith about writing.
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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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