A Letter to My Corporate Parents

This letter is a typed and author approved copy of the original letter written by Jackie McCartney, a care experienced adult and caregiver, to her corporate parents on 18 July 2018.

WHAT IS A CORPORATE PARENT?

Looking after children and young people is one of the most important jobs the council do. When a child for whatever reason, can’t stay safely at home, it is up to the local authority to step in and give that care, support and stability that they deserve. Being a parent is to look after, take care, raise, rear, nurture, love, discipline, give direction, strictness, be there good and bad, for the whole of their lives. So, Birmingham corporate parent where were you when

At 17 I had my first home (yes homeowner) but suffered domestic violence when I moved in, daily beatings because I had cooked mash and he wanted boiled.

Where was you when…

I cried every day because I was in so much pain from the violence. I got pregnant by him and in one of his rages he pushed me down the stairs and kicked me so many times I lost my child. A parent would of told me to get out, it was unhealthy and no good for me. Yes, I went back because I had nowhere else to go, no one to turn to. After another beating, I walked out. I walked to the only home I had ever known (name removed) I knocked on the door asking for help, only to be told for insurance reasons they couldn’t help.

I was 17 years old and my corporate parents turned me away to be beaten again by that man. I went to Cannon Hill Park and slept there for the weekend. I went to work, very smelly and unkept. A lady there asked me about it, I told her about me and my life. She took me to her home that night and for a short while after until I was back on my feet and so I could heal.

Where were you my corporate parent when…

I got made redundant how was I going to feed myself, pay my rent, searching for jobs. I was lucky yet again to meet a good landlord who said I could walk his dog as payment until I found something but now my landlord was selling his house. Yet again alone, scared, worried. Once more looking for a roof over my head an no one to turn to for help and support. My parent should of been there.

I found another shared house with some girls, but was still alone, they visited family and friends. I had none. I did not trust people, I did not make friends easily. Always on your guard, not letting people in too much. You was a care kid, people still thought you was trouble, that’s why you had been in care. But at 5 what had I done to deserve it and the treatment I had received.

Where were you my corporate parents?

I held down two jobs one in finance and one at a petrol station, just to make ends meet. I made a friend who invited me to her home in Ireland I had nothing to lose no one to care what I was doing.

Where were you my corporate parents when…

I started my life over in Ireland I was there for eight years. During that time, I brought a second home and married. I suffered 4 miscarriages, fertility treatment (paid for myself).

Where were you my corporate parents?

I finally had a child after so much heartache, so happy, so proud, so excited but I was also so scared, how could I be a mom, a good mom. I did not know what that was I had never seen a normal family home. I had only seen children degraded, bad mouthed, humiliated, beaten, abused. Made to sleep in the hallway because we dared speak in bed. If we carried on we would have to stand in the matron’s bedroom all night. I had to make my bed every morning as did the other kids because we would not get breakfast otherwise. If you did not finish a meal you got it at the next mealtime and did not get anything new until your plate was clear. You did not make friends in the home, as it was a sign of weakness and would be used against you at any point. How was that a normal family life? How was that teaching you how a family function.

Where were you my corporate parents?

I loved my son so much, I fed him, kept him clean, he wanted for nothing, but I had no family to share this moment with, no family of my own. I finally realised one day there was something missing, love, cuddles, kisses. Everything I never had. Everyday thereafter I learnt to hug and hold him. But not before going to counselling (paid for myself).

Where were you my corporate parents?

I thought nothing could split me and my husband up after everything we had gone through

Moving country/ miscarriages/fertility/money worries/no family/my breakdown but we did. So once more I was alone no home. I wanted to come back to the UK. I had enough strength to start again for me and my son. As he was born in Southern Ireland, he had to give permission for me to take him. He would only do that if I signed over all we had together. I walked away with my son.

Where were you my corporate parents when…

I went to the local housing office ready to start over. Only to be told I had been out of the country for 5 years I should go back.

Where were you my corporate parents when…

I told them I was not leaving until I had a bed for the night. The joys of a B&B on Hagley Road, not ideal. But beggars can’t be picky. 4 week later with the help of local MP (name removed) we were offered a 3rd floor flat 6 flights of stairs, no lift. Signed, paperwork, got keys. A roof over our heads, no bed, no cooker, no food. I had become at 33 everything you said I would be, on the dole, single, council tenant unwanted yet again.

Where were you my corporate parents?

Slowly me and my son got up on our feet, charity shops, food near sell by dates. I did not realise when I left my husband, I was pregnant. How the hell was I going to do this. I had my baby, a little girl, I was overwhelmed yet again by emotions and feelings.

Where were you my corporate parents?

My lowest night Iay in the bath, an told myself I couldn’t do this anymore I had no fight left. I worked out how to end it all. But not just for me for my children. Because there was no way I was leaving them to the system. To be neglected, physical, emotional abuse or sexual.

Where were you my corporate parents when…

I lay there for hours in the cold water, crying scared and alone. I don’t know what brought me back, but I did not go through with it. I knew my children had not asked for this and I had to better than the life I had, had. From here on in we took each day hour by hour, each day I went to bed was another day I had survived.

Where were you my corporate parents when…

I lied to the health visitor, I said all was okay and on the surface it was. I could not reach out for help. I was a care kid and you the system would take my kids away. I was already 3rd generation care kid. I could not let it happen again. Every day I took a breath got up and did it. So tired, so worn out, so lonely, so scared. No one there for me. But 2 children depending on me to make things good.

Where were you my corporate parent ?

There have been many times I asked “where were you”. But you never came, you never fulfilled your obligations to me and turned up to offer understanding and support. You were never there to replace my biological parents you had removed me from. Sad really after all said and done you are my corporate parents. I never left care you left me.

Even more recently where were you in the good times and bad, for example my concerned parents when…

– my son had a cancer scare

– both my children buying cars outright

– my son passing A levels, his apprenticeship and graduation from National Grid (CADENT) as    an engineer

– my daughter’s cancer scare and sexual assault at school

– my daughter passing her GCSE’s, prom and getting a job offer on the same day

– my 22 year old son buying his own house

Where were you my corporate parents?

There have been so many more, good, happy, sad, emotional days that needed sharing, supporting, caring, you were not there.

I would like to challenge each and every one of you. You can’t change the past but, you can have a positive impact on so many of your children for now and the future.

Are you serious about your parenting role for either your own biological children or these wonderful children who need you to show how much you really and truly care so that their daily lives and futures are happy, carefree and supported and they are able to grow into strong confident adults because of your love, encouragement by having a system that actually does care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Uncomprimisingly direct yet very honest and emotive. I only hope that this spurs the “corporate parents ” to take positive and meaningful actions to ensure that they really do “Care” seriously daily and longterm.

    Well done Jackie for having the strength and determination to carry on and to challenge your “corporate parents ” .

  2. Well done Jackie. A very good written and spoken piece of writing. I love the way you challenge the ‘Corporate parents’ to change the way they behave and I hope they have listened to you.

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