Social Services get a lot of stick and for the majority of the time I really don’t agree with it, they are there to be the parent that some children need, the parent that I once needed to say ‘This environment is not a safe place and these children need to be taken out of it’ It may seem that they are the ‘bad guys’ but they serve a purpose, a purpose that many children need to have a chance of a healthy and happy life.
Now all of this is all well and good but what about when all of that is done, you’re finally an adult and can make decisions for yourself, then what?
Not that long ago I found out that once you turn 21 social services completely stop working with you unless you decide to go onto higher education (University) in this case they then work with you until you’re 25 (If you stay in education of course) This wasn’t a problem for me as it was something I planned to do anyway so I never really thought twice about it however now that I have come to the end of my education I have come face to face with the reality that they will no longer be a part of my life. As someone who has relied on having them there I would have expected some sort of work to have happened to make sure I would be okay without them, what I have learnt has made me question parts of Social Services and here is why:
As a vulnerable young person who has left the care system, there are so many different situations you can be in, good, bad and ugly so to think if you are not able to get into University or you don’t want to go into University that you will lose that support it can be quite daunting, they told you they would help and protect you but then when you need them as a young person living alone with no family help, they are no longer there. Clearly they understand that this is our reality ‘We know that young people leaving care frequently feel isolated, lonely and lacking the safety net of someone to talk to and to advise them in a crisis.’ As found here so why are we left in this position? Also if you are in or were in the care system and are under 21 or are in higher education in Wales then also check the above website out to see what you are entitled too.
I understand that strings need to be detached at some point, there are so many young people who also need that help but if things are tied up the way they have been with me then things need to be looked at and changed. Yes, I have lived alone for 6 years and am now 22 years old but that doesn’t make me an expert and it certainly does not make me any less scared of any future dilemmas which I am sure many young people agree with.
I have recently finished University with little help since doing so, however I have been informed that my case with them has now been closed, so quickly and without any encouragement from them. I believe that they have a responsibility to ween you off, slowly giving you less and less help until you are comfortable that you feel 100% responsible for yourself.
There are so many sides to social services even some of which I don’t even know about but what I do know about I have always fully supported, so it has come as a shock to me to have come to this point and to feel let down by them.
This needs to be changed and I hope to start the change here, the more that young people express their concerns, the more local authorities will have to start to listen to us and maybe one day things will be different for future care leavers.
I have slowly come to terms with this news however I am upset for the more vulnerable young people out there who may feel completely scared and alone during this time, I want to tell you that you are not alone and there and many places to turn to for advice starting with me, if you just want a friendly chat with someone who may be able to understand how you are feeling then feel free to E-mail me (Details on my About Me page)
If you are looking for help or advice concerning things like:
- money worries
- housing issues
- how the care system works
- your rights in care and leaving care
- your education and plans for the future
- your health and wellbeing
- getting the things you are entitled to
- contact with your siblings and family members
- finding national and local services that can help you
Contact: The Who Cares Trust on their Care Advice Line on 020 7017 8901 between 10.30am and 3pm, Monday to Friday (Charges apply however you can ask to be called back) or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Check out this website for more information.
I would like to finish by saying that although you may feel scared and alone, think about everything that you have overcome and use that to tell yourself that you are strong enough to face anything that may come your way, ups and downs are a part of life and if you remain positive and work hard, there is no reason as to why your past should dictate your future.