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ON THE COVER
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
By Sam Smith
October, 2007, 16:19

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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.

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