Kicked Out: From Care to Chaos


Kicked Out: From Care to Chaos

Documentary in which Rebecca Southworth, herself taken into social services care, explores why so many children who lived in care end up living troubled lives.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Kicked Out: From Care to Chaos. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

This programme contains some strong language.

0:00:020:00:04

My name is Rebecca. As a child, my dad abused me.

0:00:040:00:08

Ten years ago, when I was 13,

0:00:080:00:10

social workers realised that it wasn't safe for me to live at home any more.

0:00:100:00:13

I never lived with my family again.

0:00:150:00:17

Instead, the local council became my parents.

0:00:170:00:20

My life as I knew it stopped.

0:00:220:00:24

Although I was safe from the abuse, I lost my family.

0:00:240:00:27

There are thousands of people like me,

0:00:300:00:32

children who grow up in other people's houses

0:00:320:00:34

or care homes. And who, too often, end up homeless...

0:00:340:00:38

He's basically getting evicted.

0:00:380:00:40

So we need to get there now.

0:00:400:00:42

I'm terrified. I don't want to be on the streets again.

0:00:420:00:44

'..in trouble with the police...'

0:00:440:00:46

GBH, GBH, ABH, assault, assault, criminal damage.

0:00:460:00:49

Whatever, whatever.

0:00:490:00:51

'..or selling themselves on the streets.'

0:00:510:00:54

-And how long have you been doing it?

-From the age of 13 to 20.

0:00:540:00:58

This is my story, and theirs.

0:00:580:01:00

Something's gone seriously wrong, and I want to know why.

0:01:000:01:04

When I was a child, I kind of thought the abuse was normal.

0:01:120:01:15

The older you get, the more you know,

0:01:170:01:19

but it wasn't supposed to be that way.

0:01:190:01:22

And it's not right for you to go home at night and fear the sound of

0:01:220:01:28

your dad coming in drunk, or, like,

0:01:280:01:30

hearing his footsteps up the stairs and knowing you was going to get

0:01:300:01:35

a smack for absolutely nothing.

0:01:350:01:38

I was removed from an abusive family home and placed in care.

0:01:390:01:43

The local council was now my parents.

0:01:430:01:45

Your dad's supposed to be the person that protects you.

0:01:450:01:48

And your parents are supposed to be the people that love you,

0:01:480:01:52

and you have that mentality of if they don't love me,

0:01:520:01:55

then who is going to?

0:01:550:01:58

And with that just comes pure loneliness.

0:01:580:02:01

Ten years on I've left care,

0:02:040:02:06

and I'm a film-maker trying to make sense of it all.

0:02:060:02:10

Why do so many people like me,

0:02:100:02:12

rescued from abuse and neglect or a parent who couldn't look after them,

0:02:120:02:16

grow up to find themselves sleeping rough, involved in crime,

0:02:160:02:19

or selling their bodies on the streets?

0:02:190:02:22

I can't help wondering whether the local council,

0:02:220:02:25

who take over as our parents,

0:02:250:02:27

are doing just as bad a job as the messed-up places we came from.

0:02:270:02:31

Even social workers who have to look

0:02:310:02:33

after us think there's a problem.

0:02:330:02:35

Kicked out by the time we're 18, I'm meeting young people like me,

0:02:350:02:40

to try and understand how we go from care to chaos.

0:02:400:02:43

Time spent in care as a child massively ups your chances of

0:02:460:02:48

getting in trouble with the police.

0:02:480:02:50

Is it because we have problems to begin with?

0:02:500:02:53

Or something to do with growing up in the system?

0:02:530:02:56

I've arranged to meet a 17-year-old called Coral.

0:02:580:03:02

She's had a fair few run-ins with the police.

0:03:020:03:04

-Hiya.

-Hiya, you all right?

0:03:040:03:05

Yeah. Am I all right to mic you up?

0:03:050:03:09

'Like me, she went into care at 13.'

0:03:090:03:11

They put, like, loads of kids together,

0:03:110:03:13

naughty kids together in one house.

0:03:130:03:15

They've all got problems. It doesn't work.

0:03:150:03:18

How is that going to work? You look up to the kids you live with,

0:03:180:03:20

and they're all, like, bad behaved and all that.

0:03:200:03:23

So, good role models, innit? You've got your carers that like,

0:03:230:03:26

come and go, you can't look at them,

0:03:260:03:28

because you don't know them well enough, do you know what I mean?

0:03:280:03:31

'In the last four years, Coral says she's lived in 22 different places.'

0:03:310:03:36

Why do you think that you've been moved so much, in your honest opinion?

0:03:360:03:40

My behaviour. If I don't like it somewhere, then I'll kick off,

0:03:400:03:43

so they move me. I didn't offend once before I came into care.

0:03:430:03:46

Not once. I never had a fight before I come into care.

0:03:460:03:48

I never smoked before I came into care.

0:03:480:03:50

I never self-harmed before I came into care.

0:03:500:03:53

Nothing. If you look at my offences, it's like, GBH, GBH, ABH, assault,

0:03:530:03:57

assault, criminal damage.

0:03:570:03:59

Whatever, whatever. But if you actually looked into it,

0:03:590:04:02

it's a different story.

0:04:020:04:03

'Some of Coral's offences have been really serious.

0:04:030:04:07

'But I can't help but wonder whether the police would have been

0:04:070:04:10

'called if she wasn't living with strangers.'

0:04:100:04:13

Like, that one with a spoon, that wasn't assault.

0:04:130:04:15

I got, like, Bolognese sauce, and I just tipped it all over the floor.

0:04:150:04:18

And she said, "I'll restrain you." So I picked up this spoon, and I said, "Restrain me,

0:04:180:04:22

"I'll stab you with this." Just an empty threat, you know what I mean?

0:04:220:04:25

The police came, two armed police officers turned up at the door.

0:04:250:04:28

How is that assault?

0:04:280:04:29

'When kids who live with their family kick off, throw food across the room,

0:04:290:04:33

'even threaten someone with a spoon, they might get grounded.

0:04:330:04:37

'Most parents don't dial 999.

0:04:370:04:40

'Coral's tough front has helped her survive,

0:04:400:04:44

'but I worry what will happen when she leaves care in less than a year

0:04:440:04:46

'with a long list of convictions behind her.'

0:04:460:04:50

Take care. 'It's easy to forget that she was a vulnerable 13-year-old when all this started.

0:04:500:04:57

'I remember how alone I felt.'

0:04:570:04:58

I felt, for a long time, that

0:05:000:05:02

I didn't, kind of,

0:05:020:05:05

deserve any better than what I was getting.

0:05:050:05:08

And I felt like

0:05:080:05:11

every slap, or every argument, or every,

0:05:110:05:18

every bruise was deserved, whether I understood why or not.

0:05:180:05:24

Now I know that me,

0:05:260:05:28

and other kids who have been in care do deserve better.

0:05:280:05:31

But too often we are not getting it, and many end up homeless.

0:05:310:05:35

Hi, you OK? My name's Rebecca. I'm making a documentary on care.

0:05:360:05:39

'I'm hitting the streets of my home town of Manchester to see how many

0:05:390:05:42

'rough sleepers actually spent time in the system.'

0:05:420:05:47

-Have any of you two been in care at all?

-Yeah. I've been in kids homes, yeah.

0:05:470:05:51

-At what age were you in care?

-From eight until 16.

0:05:510:05:54

This is no good for anybody.

0:05:540:05:55

So have you been in care?

0:05:550:05:57

Yeah. I was being sexually abused,

0:05:570:05:59

but I never told anybody for years and years.

0:05:590:06:03

I'm very shocked with today.

0:06:030:06:06

Largely, everyone has pretty much been in care at some point.

0:06:060:06:12

That's a lot more than I expected.

0:06:120:06:14

The council is taking over as mum and dad to the children they protect,

0:06:140:06:18

but once they're 18, they're out.

0:06:180:06:20

And too often it seems they are ending up on the streets.

0:06:200:06:24

To find out why, I want to meet someone closer to my age, so,

0:06:240:06:29

through a homeless charity not far from where I grew up, I've arranged

0:06:290:06:32

to meet a care leaver a couple of years older than me who's sleeping rough.

0:06:320:06:37

Hey, Grace, you all right? Hiya. You all right? How you doing?

0:06:380:06:41

-I didn't even know you were in care.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:06:410:06:44

'I can't believe it.

0:06:440:06:46

'This is Tyler.

0:06:460:06:48

'He's the last person I was expecting to see.

0:06:480:06:51

'We went to school together, and we were friends.

0:06:510:06:54

'How is he homeless?'

0:06:540:06:56

That's better.

0:06:560:06:58

I had no idea that you were actually in care.

0:06:580:07:00

What age did you go into care?

0:07:000:07:02

I was seven. Yeah, yeah. So, early.

0:07:020:07:06

How did you end up being street homeless?

0:07:060:07:08

-What happened?

-Well, I got my place,

0:07:080:07:10

then I lost that because of rent arrears and stuff,

0:07:100:07:12

and then with being homeless on and off for a year and a half.

0:07:120:07:16

I hate being homeless. I just feel wasted. I do.

0:07:160:07:19

Tyler left care at 18, and got into uni,

0:07:210:07:24

just like me. But for him, it didn't work out.

0:07:240:07:27

Now he's living on the streets.

0:07:270:07:30

25. I shouldn't be at this point of my life, you know what I mean?

0:07:310:07:34

Quarter of a century, and what have I actually got to show for it?

0:07:340:07:37

Do you know what I mean? The clothes on my back, and, obviously, my girlfriend.

0:07:370:07:41

-Do you feel like every day is a constant battle?

-Yeah.

0:07:420:07:45

Big time.

0:07:450:07:47

How can Tyler be so alone,

0:07:500:07:52

and how have our lives ended up being so different?

0:07:520:07:55

Somehow he's managed to slip through the cracks,

0:07:560:07:59

and now he's homeless.

0:07:590:08:03

Literally battling, day by day,

0:08:030:08:06

just to find somewhere to sleep.

0:08:060:08:08

It's horrible.

0:08:110:08:12

Ten years ago, both me and Tyler were just kids.

0:08:140:08:18

He'd been in care for eight years, and I was still at home, scared,

0:08:180:08:22

alone and desperate to find a way out.

0:08:220:08:26

It just felt too much, the burden

0:08:260:08:29

of not being able to tell anyone, and going home and

0:08:290:08:35

covering up bruises.

0:08:350:08:37

Or being late for school and not being able to tell anyone why.

0:08:370:08:42

And then I just couldn't hold it in any longer.

0:08:420:08:45

And I told Marcus.

0:08:450:08:46

Marcus was my best friend.

0:08:490:08:51

That's mine. That's Marcus's.

0:08:510:08:54

'I confided in him, and made him promise not to tell.'

0:08:540:08:57

Here you are, Marcus.

0:08:570:09:00

You're talking about conversations between two 12-year-olds.

0:09:020:09:05

Or 11-year-olds.

0:09:050:09:06

'But eventually, Marcus told his mum, Michelle.'

0:09:060:09:10

I can remember you saying, "I can't cope with this.

0:09:100:09:12

"I can't cope with it any more."

0:09:120:09:14

And that's when you said to me about what had happened with Becks.

0:09:140:09:18

And I just remember you coming in, and being, right,

0:09:180:09:21

you don't have to go home tonight.

0:09:210:09:23

That's when I phoned the emergency children's services, just

0:09:230:09:28

to say you didn't want to go home.

0:09:280:09:30

Initially, they said to put you in a taxi and send you home.

0:09:300:09:37

And I refused to do that, because I just knew you wouldn't go home.

0:09:370:09:41

You'd just be on the streets, or go somewhere else.

0:09:410:09:44

'Everything changed.

0:09:440:09:45

'I was saved from the abuse,

0:09:450:09:47

'but in a world of police and social workers I lost my family.'

0:09:470:09:52

When I think about how scared and impressionable,

0:09:520:09:56

and vulnerable that I was at 13, and...

0:09:560:10:01

It was...

0:10:010:10:02

With all the people coming in and out of your life, it's like,

0:10:040:10:07

whatever they said, you just follow, and you just do it, because...

0:10:070:10:11

Especially coming from such, having such a violent childhood,

0:10:110:10:17

it was like you're just used to

0:10:170:10:21

taking orders and doing what people say.

0:10:210:10:23

Children going into care have to grow up fast

0:10:270:10:31

and end up making big decisions that they could easily regret later.

0:10:310:10:36

I'm shocked to discover how many of them have ended up selling their

0:10:360:10:39

bodies for sex.

0:10:390:10:41

It absolutely just floors me, I can't get my head around it.

0:10:410:10:44

Like, every part of your body just doesn't want it to be true.

0:10:440:10:48

'I'm heading to Cardiff to meet Safer Wales,

0:10:480:10:50

'a charity that supports street sex workers.'

0:10:500:10:53

OK, so we give the girls condoms, lubricant...

0:10:530:10:58

So that's that. And the hot chocolate goes down a treat.

0:10:580:11:02

How many of the women that you know about have been in care?

0:11:020:11:05

The majority.

0:11:050:11:06

'In the van, we're flagged down.'

0:11:100:11:13

I think this is one of the women.

0:11:130:11:15

'She's asked to be anonymous.'

0:11:170:11:20

I'm really nervous.

0:11:200:11:21

Here we go.

0:11:240:11:25

Hiya, are you OK? I'm Rebecca. Have you ever been in care?

0:11:250:11:29

-Yes, I have.

-What age did you go into care?

0:11:290:11:31

-Really young. I was 12.

-12?

0:11:310:11:34

I went into care when I was 13.

0:11:340:11:36

Not easy.

0:11:360:11:37

My mum passed away, and my dad didn't really want to know me.

0:11:370:11:42

So I just had to go into care.

0:11:420:11:44

No family.

0:11:440:11:45

And how long have you been doing it?

0:11:470:11:49

I done it from the age of 13 to 20.

0:11:490:11:51

-Oh, my God.

-Not good.

0:11:510:11:54

Not easy, and dangerous.

0:11:540:11:56

Lovely to meet you.

0:11:560:11:57

I went into care when I was 13.

0:12:010:12:04

And to think that at that age she was into sex work,

0:12:040:12:08

like, if someone loved her,

0:12:080:12:10

enough, would she have been in that situation?

0:12:100:12:14

13, you know.

0:12:170:12:18

If I were the mother and my child was on the streets doing sex work,

0:12:220:12:26

I would do everything that I could to get them off the streets.

0:12:260:12:31

The government took on a responsibility to be a parent to these children,

0:12:310:12:35

and your responsibility, as a parent, they don't stop at age 16, or 18.

0:12:350:12:42

So why have they stopped being cared for?

0:12:420:12:45

Looking after us is the job of foster parents and children's homes.

0:12:470:12:50

Surely, it's down to them to stop vulnerable kids getting into

0:12:500:12:53

these kinds of desperate situations?

0:12:530:12:55

The number of kids in care is the highest it's been in over 30 years,

0:12:570:13:01

and the system is feeling the strain.

0:13:010:13:04

A lot of children need homes, and there are not enough.

0:13:060:13:09

But even when they do find a family, too often, it doesn't last.

0:13:090:13:13

'I've met up with 27-year-old Scott,

0:13:150:13:17

'who lived in 36 different places growing up, some for as little as a week.

0:13:170:13:23

'Him and his brother were taken from an abusive family home when they were tiny.

0:13:230:13:29

'He's taking me to some of the places he lived.'

0:13:290:13:32

So, which house is it?

0:13:320:13:34

This is our very first foster placement,

0:13:340:13:37

so we was taken out of our mum and dad's house, and put here.

0:13:370:13:40

And we was here three years.

0:13:400:13:42

They just made us feel safe, they gave us everything.

0:13:420:13:45

They made us feel secure.

0:13:450:13:47

We didn't feel scared any more.

0:13:470:13:49

This is the home where we suffered a couple of years of quite serious

0:13:510:13:54

abuse from our foster carers.

0:13:540:13:57

We used to play football, and kick it up there all the time.

0:14:000:14:03

My room was that one there, the second one.

0:14:030:14:05

'Scott wanted a family, but instead was passed around the system.

0:14:050:14:10

'The effect on him has been massive.'

0:14:100:14:13

When the care system works well, and when there was consistency,

0:14:130:14:16

it's a good thing. You know? Children are removed from horrible situations

0:14:160:14:19

and put in a place of safety, with people that care and support them.

0:14:190:14:22

But the reality is that that's not going on enough.

0:14:220:14:24

You're being chucked between all these houses, you're a kid,

0:14:240:14:27

and you need to feel loved, so you're going to get attached very easily.

0:14:270:14:30

Then you get attached, and you're moved. So you have that taken from you over and over again,

0:14:300:14:33

which is emotional abuse.

0:14:330:14:35

I think, sometimes, having the one person beat you up

0:14:350:14:38

is a lot easier to overcome than have 30-odd people just abandon you.

0:14:380:14:44

I'm shocked by what Scott has said.

0:14:440:14:47

I feel like care saved me.

0:14:470:14:49

But he's made me think.

0:14:490:14:51

What does it do to a child to be passed from place to place,

0:14:510:14:54

not to feel safe, not to feel loved?

0:14:540:14:57

'I've come back to see Coral.'

0:15:010:15:03

-Hello.

-You all right?

0:15:030:15:06

'During her four years in care, Coral remembers living in 22 places.'

0:15:060:15:10

I've been all right. What have you done since I'd last seen you?

0:15:100:15:13

Nothing. I broke my punching bag yesterday.

0:15:130:15:15

-Do you do boxing?

-I used to. I've just got a punching bag now.

0:15:150:15:19

'I'm meeting her near her latest home.

0:15:190:15:21

'It's a flat she's been put in by the council, who want her to live

0:15:210:15:25

'semi-independently now she's turned 17.

0:15:250:15:28

'Two staff work shifts, staying there and looking out for her.'

0:15:280:15:32

Let's go get some snacks.

0:15:320:15:34

It's kind of nice. It's properly like...

0:15:390:15:42

So, what about food and stuff?

0:15:420:15:44

I pay for my own food. You have to do.

0:15:440:15:46

I got paid, what, on Monday.

0:15:460:15:49

All the money's gone. I've got about three quid left.

0:15:490:15:52

-Really?

-Yeah, to last me till Monday.

0:15:520:15:54

But how do you live?

0:15:540:15:56

I don't, do I? It's not living, is it, really?

0:15:560:15:59

-It's just getting by. It's just getting by life through the skin of your teeth. Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:15:590:16:04

Nice one.

0:16:040:16:05

I'm going to pop this down, and then eat with you.

0:16:050:16:08

They say, "Oh, they'll try and make it as easy as possible here for you.

0:16:080:16:12

"So we're going to try and make it as it was at home."

0:16:120:16:15

But you're not.

0:16:150:16:16

Because what other kid has to move out at 17, 16, even 18?

0:16:160:16:20

They don't. It's just so much different when you're in care than being at home with Mum, isn't it?

0:16:200:16:25

Or your dad.

0:16:250:16:26

Do you ever wish that you could go back?

0:16:260:16:29

-Go back to where?

-Go back home?

0:16:290:16:30

No. It's like, it was better for me that I got taken away,

0:16:300:16:35

because I was at risk there.

0:16:350:16:37

It's not good. It wasn't good for me or my mum, or my sisters,

0:16:370:16:40

any of my family when I was at home,

0:16:400:16:42

because I was causing everybody so much stress and everything.

0:16:420:16:45

'Even though Coral thinks she was better growing up away from her family,

0:16:450:16:49

'I wonder whether the trouble she's been in has a lot to do with going from home to home.'

0:16:490:16:54

Sometimes, do you feel like your anger just, kind of,

0:16:540:16:57

gets the better of you? And you just see red?

0:16:570:17:01

I have control over my actions.

0:17:010:17:02

But I don't have control over what makes me tick.

0:17:020:17:05

I do, but, if someone says something I'll get like a little twitch,

0:17:050:17:09

and I'm, like, did you really just say that?

0:17:090:17:11

Say it again? Do it again?

0:17:110:17:13

I just give them another chance.

0:17:130:17:14

Did you really just say that? Did you really just do that?

0:17:140:17:17

If they do it again, then they're being deadly serious.

0:17:170:17:19

And then I turn around, like, and that's what I mean. Someone says something, I'll click.

0:17:190:17:23

I'll open my eyes. People on the floor, blood everywhere, and I'm like...

0:17:230:17:26

What... Do you know what I mean?

0:17:260:17:28

Because I start throwing myself around and I just get proper angry.

0:17:280:17:31

Why do you think you get so angry?

0:17:310:17:33

Because I've not given myself a chance to calm down.

0:17:330:17:35

I don't give anyone chance to speak. I'm, like, what? Bang!

0:17:350:17:38

That's my guard, going up.

0:17:380:17:42

What life is it? It's not living, this. It's not living.

0:17:420:17:45

-Thank you. See you later.

-Thanks, bye.

0:17:460:17:49

Right, well, do you know what, yeah? I would have invited you in,

0:17:530:17:56

but they say I'm not allowed people in.

0:17:560:17:59

So I'd best say bye, then.

0:17:590:18:01

Hold in there. Come here. Hang in there.

0:18:010:18:03

'Coral has learned throughout her placements in care,

0:18:060:18:09

'the only way that she feels like she's going to be heard

0:18:090:18:12

'is if she lashes out,'

0:18:120:18:13

and at the moment, there's nothing stopping her from that.

0:18:130:18:16

And I'm just scared that she is going to end up in a secure unit,

0:18:160:18:20

or even prison.

0:18:200:18:22

Coral has partly been created by her experiences,

0:18:230:18:25

so what would have happened to her if she hadn't have been sent from

0:18:250:18:28

place to place, been left with stranger after stranger?

0:18:280:18:32

I've heard of a lad called Liam who rejected the system when he was just 14.

0:18:370:18:41

He's been homeless on and off since then.

0:18:410:18:44

Now 20, he's living in a squat with a group of activists,

0:18:440:18:47

who occupy empty buildings in Manchester,

0:18:470:18:49

where I've been trying to visit him to film.

0:18:490:18:54

But before I can get in, the police and bailiffs beat me to it.

0:18:540:18:57

So, Liam just gave us a call, and he's basically getting evicted.

0:18:570:19:02

So, we need to get there now.

0:19:020:19:04

Let us in the door, man, fucking hell!

0:19:070:19:10

Are you OK?

0:19:100:19:12

-What's been said?

-It was seven in the morning.

0:19:120:19:14

As you can see around you, we got evicted.

0:19:140:19:17

Within half an hour. I'm terrified.

0:19:170:19:20

I don't want to be on the streets again.

0:19:200:19:21

'Just a few hours after being evicted, the activists Liam was squatting with have sorted a van.'

0:19:210:19:27

So, wait, sorry, what's happening now?

0:19:270:19:31

We're moving. We're putting stuff in a van.

0:19:310:19:33

-Do you know where you're going?

-Nope.

0:19:330:19:35

'The activist group have found a new empty building to squat,

0:19:350:19:38

'so Liam has a place to sleep tonight.

0:19:380:19:41

'And he's been persuaded to visit Life Share,

0:19:440:19:46

'a local homeless charity, with his friend, Matty,

0:19:460:19:49

'to find out about getting a more permanent home.'

0:19:490:19:51

You've got to be on it this time, guys.

0:19:510:19:54

-Because the money is there.

-So, what are you doing today, Liam?

0:19:540:19:58

What's going on?

0:19:580:19:59

Attempting to sort out housing and

0:19:590:20:02

apply for viewings for houses.

0:20:020:20:05

As Liam is 20, homeless, and was in care,

0:20:060:20:09

the charity should be able to get him a house with Matty and some friends.

0:20:090:20:13

But Liam's not sure.

0:20:130:20:15

It's in Moston, that, fuck off.

0:20:150:20:16

Excuse my French.

0:20:160:20:18

-So, Moston's a no-go?

-Yeah, that's a no-go.

0:20:180:20:22

It's better than living in a squat, though?

0:20:220:20:24

-No, it's not.

-This one looks pretty good.

0:20:240:20:26

-It's in Middleton.

-Middleton's quite nice.

0:20:260:20:28

-My friend lives there.

-It's north Manchester.

0:20:280:20:30

My ex lives in Middleton, that's why I don't want to go there.

0:20:300:20:33

I'm going to go for a cigarette, is that OK with you guys?

0:20:330:20:36

Sorted.

0:20:360:20:37

Matty, have you got a lighter?

0:20:370:20:38

'While Liam is out having a cigarette, I take

0:20:380:20:41

'the opportunity to chat to support worker Mikey.'

0:20:410:20:44

Considering they've just been removed from a squat in Manchester,

0:20:440:20:48

-it's...

-They're being quite fussy.

0:20:480:20:50

They're being very fussy. You know,

0:20:500:20:52

the idea is, "We'll just go and get another squat."

0:20:520:20:55

I would like them not to return back to the streets.

0:20:550:20:58

I want them to be somewhere where they're happy, where they're comfortable.

0:20:580:21:01

'As a 20-year-old care leaver, in theory, there's more help on offer for Liam than other young people.

0:21:010:21:06

'I can't get my head around what's holding him back.'

0:21:060:21:09

Them houses, to me, look pretty amazing, to be honest.

0:21:090:21:11

But, yeah, I'm going to make myself a coffee and have a cigarette,

0:21:110:21:14

so, you guys want to do one, then?

0:21:140:21:17

Once Liam is 21, the extra help he gets will begin to dry up.

0:21:200:21:24

He needs to get sorted soon.

0:21:240:21:26

So far, the group of activists he's been squatting with have looked out

0:21:280:21:31

for Liam. But if anything changes he could end up on the streets again.

0:21:310:21:36

Like Tyler. My old friend from school.

0:21:360:21:39

He's managed to get into a hostel

0:21:420:21:44

where they've laid on emergency sleeping space

0:21:440:21:46

in a Portakabin, but now it's 9am, and he's back on the streets.

0:21:460:21:51

Hello. You OK?

0:21:510:21:53

Yeah, I'm not bad. It's cold, innit?

0:21:530:21:55

Yeah, it's absolutely freezing.

0:21:550:21:58

'The chaos of moving foster home pretty much every year as a child

0:21:580:22:02

'means Tyler has no support as he tries to get himself back on his feet.'

0:22:020:22:07

-Here we are then.

-After you.

-Thank you.

0:22:070:22:09

'At 25, despite a troubled childhood in care,

0:22:090:22:13

'there's no duty for the local council, who took on the role of parent, to help him out.'

0:22:130:22:18

As soon as you get to the age,

0:22:180:22:20

they haven't got a duty of care. Virtually...

0:22:200:22:22

See you later. Have a good life.

0:22:220:22:25

But there should be more support.

0:22:260:22:30

He's not seen by the government differently to any other homeless person.

0:22:300:22:35

Hello? Good afternoon, it's Tyler calling again.

0:22:350:22:37

I'm just wondering where we are up to with the meeting?

0:22:370:22:42

-Because apparently I'm all...

-After living like this for 18 months,

0:22:420:22:45

he's hoping a local housing association can help him out.

0:22:450:22:49

Yeah, Tuesday afternoon?

0:22:490:22:51

I can do that. What am I expecting the outcome for that meeting?

0:22:510:22:54

I'm not sure being constantly moved as a child really prepared Tyler for

0:22:540:22:58

life as an adult. And now he's got no-one to turn to.

0:22:580:23:02

I thought our next step was, we do this until we set up a meeting.

0:23:020:23:06

We go to a meeting to discuss the options.

0:23:060:23:08

We find a property that a landlord is willing to take on the case for,

0:23:080:23:12

and then we move into our flat?

0:23:120:23:13

I mean, no mention of clearing off my arrears and stuff like that.

0:23:130:23:17

Do you know what I mean?

0:23:170:23:19

To look at Tyler's experience, it makes me angry.

0:23:190:23:21

It's just a ridiculous cycle of care leavers being cut loose,

0:23:210:23:26

and then falling, because they have no safety net.

0:23:260:23:29

I feel like I'm running out of time, mate, I do.

0:23:290:23:31

Even at 25, care leavers are not ready to be on their own.

0:23:310:23:35

-They're not ready.

-All right, mate, no worries.

0:23:350:23:38

Thank you. Bye.

0:23:380:23:39

It's just jargon and nonsense.

0:23:410:23:43

And, oh, do this, and then I get frustrated,

0:23:430:23:45

because you're not making any sense to me about what my options are,

0:23:450:23:48

and what my next step is, and what I can do.

0:23:480:23:51

Do you know what I mean?

0:23:510:23:53

They just need to pull their finger out of their arses.

0:23:530:23:55

You tell me that I've got to do all this,

0:23:550:23:58

but then you do nothing yourselves.

0:23:580:23:59

It's frustrating. It's...

0:24:010:24:03

It's annoying. I'm annoyed.

0:24:030:24:05

I'm not going to lie, I'm really annoyed.

0:24:050:24:07

Fuck them. Absolutely fuck them.

0:24:070:24:10

I can't fuck them, because I need them.

0:24:100:24:12

And that's the sod's law of it. I need them.

0:24:120:24:15

It feels like growing up in care sets us up to fail.

0:24:210:24:24

We're fragile to start with, with no-one there when things go wrong.

0:24:240:24:29

When we fall, we fall hard.

0:24:290:24:32

It is just like you've come in and you're already damaged goods, and...

0:24:320:24:37

To not feel loved, in that kind of environment,

0:24:400:24:45

it just makes you not worthy of love and

0:24:450:24:48

for a long time, I couldn't feel anything any more.

0:24:480:24:53

And it was that constant feeling of numbness.

0:24:530:24:56

It's like you put yourself in dangerous and destructive methods and paths,

0:24:560:25:02

and have these suicidal thoughts and stuff,

0:25:020:25:04

because you want to be able to feel something.

0:25:040:25:06

Once you get on the destructive path, it's hard to get off,

0:25:080:25:11

and you start making bad choices that could affect the rest of your life.

0:25:110:25:16

Coral's texted me. Things have kicked off at her flat with one of her carers,

0:25:160:25:20

and it's turned violent.

0:25:200:25:22

The police were called, and now she's been taken to a bed and breakfast

0:25:220:25:25

for the night.

0:25:250:25:26

-'Hello.'

-Hi, Coral. It's Becky.

0:25:260:25:29

Where are you?

0:25:290:25:30

'I'm just standing at a bus stop, me.

0:25:300:25:33

'I'm going to a friend's cos I'm not staying at a B&B on my own.

0:25:330:25:37

'They think they can pick the responsibility up and leave it whenever they want.'

0:25:370:25:42

So what has the carer said?

0:25:420:25:45

'Nothing. I've texted five of the staff, saying

0:25:450:25:49

'I need food, I'm staying here all night without food.

0:25:490:25:53

'And none of them replied. So, I waited half an hour.

0:25:530:25:55

'They just didn't reply.

0:25:550:25:57

So I'm going to go to my boyfriend's mum's for tea

0:25:570:25:59

-'and go and sleep in his car.'

-You can't... She can't do that.

0:25:590:26:02

Who's supposed to be looking after you in this situation?

0:26:020:26:04

'Nobody! This is what I said.

0:26:040:26:08

'I cried about seven million times today, just crying.

0:26:080:26:11

'Is this going to keep happening, is this my life from now on?

0:26:110:26:14

'Do you know what I mean?'

0:26:140:26:15

No, it doesn't have to be though, Coral, and it shouldn't be.

0:26:150:26:19

'It's one bad thing after another. I can't deal with it.

0:26:190:26:21

'It's happening, like, every month now.

0:26:210:26:24

Every month, it's a new place, new people to meet.

0:26:240:26:27

'I'm so used to it now, but I shouldn't be.

0:26:270:26:29

'I'd never admitted it before, and now I don't care, because I never actually have.

0:26:290:26:34

'But now, it's past the 20th placement. I'm thinking,

0:26:340:26:36

'"Whoa, whoa, whoa, this isn't right.

0:26:360:26:38

'"There's something wrong here, and it can't just be all me."

0:26:380:26:41

'Do you know what I mean? Someone else has to take some responsibility for the way I am.'

0:26:410:26:46

Coral, please, please, I know you're really whipped up,

0:26:510:26:54

but just try and stay calm.

0:26:540:26:57

'I am going to stay calm. I'm going to drink my wine and stay calm.'

0:26:570:27:00

Right. I'll speak to you soon.

0:27:000:27:02

'Thank you.'

0:27:020:27:04

Thank you, Coral. See you later.

0:27:040:27:06

Fucking hell!

0:27:080:27:09

Jesus!

0:27:120:27:14

She should not be on her own.

0:27:140:27:15

She's 17!

0:27:150:27:17

She's 17, and they've dropped her off at a B&B, and I know,

0:27:170:27:20

I know what she's done is horrendous.

0:27:200:27:23

She's at a bus stop on her own.

0:27:230:27:25

She doesn't know what's happening today or tomorrow.

0:27:250:27:27

And I asked her who I can get in touch with to make sure she's safe,

0:27:270:27:30

and she said there is no-one.

0:27:300:27:33

Whether that's true or not, the fact is,

0:27:330:27:35

is that she feels like there is no-one.

0:27:350:27:38

It's fucking disgusting. Sorry.

0:27:410:27:43

Half an hour later, I got another text from Coral.

0:27:480:27:52

She was safe at her friend's.

0:27:520:27:54

I really don't know what she's going to do next.

0:27:540:27:56

It's been a week since I saw Liam.

0:27:590:28:02

'The person you're calling can't take your call.'

0:28:020:28:04

He didn't show up for the appointments the charity arranged,

0:28:040:28:07

and I've struggled to get in touch with him.

0:28:070:28:09

Keep ringing.

0:28:090:28:11

Liam's life is so chaotic, and he's pretty unreliable.

0:28:110:28:14

But I've finally made contact,

0:28:140:28:16

and he said I can come over to his latest squat.

0:28:160:28:19

-Hello.

-Hello.

0:28:190:28:20

'They've only been here seven days,

0:28:200:28:23

'but already the activist group have been served an eviction notice.

0:28:230:28:27

'So they'll get chucked out any day now.'

0:28:270:28:30

Do you think you could give me a tour round?

0:28:300:28:34

'Liam couldn't settle at his foster placement when he was 14,

0:28:340:28:38

'so he ran away, and has been homeless on and off since then.'

0:28:380:28:42

Sorry about the lighting up here.

0:28:420:28:43

I don't even know where the light switch is.

0:28:430:28:45

Yes! I did have my own accommodation,

0:28:450:28:48

thanks to social services from the ages of 17 to 18.

0:28:480:28:52

But then that property ended up with a lot of debt on my head,

0:28:520:28:56

because my housing benefit ended up stopping getting paid,

0:28:560:28:58

because I wasn't really too used to the job centre and stuff like that,

0:28:580:29:01

and I got sanctioned.

0:29:010:29:03

And from there I just went fuck it.

0:29:030:29:05

Put all my stuff in a sleeping bag, and started to camp out on Market Street.

0:29:050:29:09

'With no family to fall back on, he slept rough in the city centre...'

0:29:090:29:13

So where do you sleep?

0:29:130:29:14

'..where he was spat on, robbed and kicked.

0:29:140:29:17

'At least the squat is safe, with other people for company.'

0:29:170:29:21

So, which one's your bed?

0:29:210:29:24

I share the room with two other people.

0:29:240:29:27

It's normally pretty comfortable in here.

0:29:270:29:29

You'll be getting half, anyway, it's your tobacco.

0:29:290:29:32

'Some of the good things is the fact we've got heat, we've got light,

0:29:320:29:35

'and we've got somewhere to stay when it's cold.

0:29:350:29:37

Cheers. 'But some of the bad things are,'

0:29:370:29:39

you've obviously got the inevitability of being evicted.

0:29:390:29:42

How important is it for you to stay together with the people squatting?

0:29:420:29:48

It's just a nice happy family,

0:29:480:29:50

which most care leavers have never had that.

0:29:500:29:54

What else can I say?

0:29:540:29:56

Now I understand why Liam's chosen this over the houses on offer.

0:29:560:30:01

None of those are a home.

0:30:010:30:03

The squat and the activists who live there are the closest to a happy

0:30:040:30:07

family he's got. Which is exactly what foster care should be.

0:30:070:30:11

And that's what I had.

0:30:130:30:15

After helping me get away from my abusive home,

0:30:150:30:17

Marcus's family eventually became my foster family.

0:30:170:30:22

It wasn't a job for us.

0:30:220:30:24

It was just something that we did.

0:30:240:30:27

How challenging was it for you guys to, kind of,

0:30:270:30:30

make the decision that you wanted me to stay?

0:30:300:30:33

Well, there were, I suppose, some challenges along the way.

0:30:330:30:39

Arguments between you and Marcus,

0:30:390:30:44

and the impact it had in school, as well.

0:30:440:30:47

And at times, we did, well, I did think,

0:30:470:30:50

we can't carry on like this.

0:30:500:30:53

Almost, you know, like...

0:30:530:30:56

It gets to a point where you think,

0:30:560:30:58

this is actually affecting our family here.

0:30:580:31:01

Our family unit as it was.

0:31:010:31:04

It sounds really daft, but we got used to you.

0:31:040:31:06

And when we've made that decision,

0:31:060:31:08

we're committed to whatever decision we make.

0:31:080:31:11

And I think that's the way we saw it.

0:31:110:31:12

-Wasn't it?

-Yeah.

-At that particular...

0:31:120:31:15

-We never had a chance to get out of it again, did we!

-No!

0:31:150:31:20

-But you wouldn't want to?

-No.

0:31:200:31:23

'Michelle and Simon didn't provide a placement, they gave me a home.

0:31:250:31:29

'Something many of the people I've met haven't been given.'

0:31:290:31:34

To think of what a horrible situation I might be in if they

0:31:340:31:39

hadn't cared for me after all the trauma and the damage that was done before I came into care...

0:31:390:31:44

..just... It's just, kind of, unthinkable.

0:31:470:31:50

Where would I be without them?

0:31:500:31:52

I just feel like an overwhelming sense of being grateful.

0:31:520:31:57

You're drying, Bec.

0:32:000:32:03

Squeaky-clean.

0:32:030:32:06

'But should someone in care feel grateful for a loving home?

0:32:060:32:09

'I don't think so. It shouldn't be the exception.

0:32:090:32:12

'It should be the rule.'

0:32:120:32:14

For years, governments have made big promises,

0:32:140:32:16

saying things will get better.

0:32:160:32:18

There's supposed to be more support and extra cash,

0:32:180:32:21

but it's definitely not getting through to everyone who needs it.

0:32:210:32:25

And one big thing that has not changed -

0:32:250:32:28

the age that we have to leave and stand on our own two feet.

0:32:280:32:31

I've come to see Scott again.

0:32:340:32:36

He's using his horrendous experiences in care to improve

0:32:360:32:40

other young people's lives.

0:32:400:32:42

I was taken into care when I was six months old.

0:32:420:32:46

My time in care was extremely traumatic.

0:32:460:32:48

It was a complete mess, to be honest.

0:32:480:32:50

And I had a high number of placement moves.

0:32:500:32:53

It tends to be that the more placement moves a child has,

0:32:530:32:56

the worse their behaviour becomes.

0:32:560:32:58

And also, the worse their outcome is as well.

0:32:580:33:00

This session is for foster carers,

0:33:000:33:03

to help them understand the young people they look after better so

0:33:030:33:06

that the placements are more likely to last, and, unlike Scott,

0:33:060:33:09

the children won't get moved on repeatedly.

0:33:090:33:12

And what this care system does, unintentionally,

0:33:120:33:16

is teaches kids that rage works.

0:33:160:33:18

Sometimes, all it takes is one person to do something differently to turn

0:33:180:33:22

that person around. And most of the care leavers that I know who have

0:33:220:33:25

been awful in care and have turned out OK have only had one person that

0:33:250:33:28

has not rejected them. That has not put conditions on the relationship,

0:33:280:33:32

and has accepted them for who they are.

0:33:320:33:34

-I hope you've all taken something out of today.

-Yeah.

-Thank you.

0:33:340:33:37

Thanks for coming.

0:33:370:33:39

The system is a conveyor belt.

0:33:390:33:41

And it can be stopped by helping people understand the impact of moving kids on.

0:33:410:33:45

But also, give them the skills they need to keep kids in placement.

0:33:450:33:48

Because these kids, they can be very difficult, they can be very draining.

0:33:480:33:52

It is hard. So they do need support,

0:33:520:33:55

but there are skill sets that we are able to give them to help them deal

0:33:550:34:00

with that, because they are the most delicate and damaged children in this country.

0:34:000:34:04

It's simple, isn't it?

0:34:060:34:08

Damaged kids need someone who will stick with them.

0:34:080:34:10

The more you're moved, the more damage can be done.

0:34:100:34:13

But for the people I've met, the system has already left its mark.

0:34:130:34:17

-Good morning!

-Hello!

0:34:170:34:20

'A week after I spoke to her on the phone, Coral's back in the flat,

0:34:200:34:23

'where she should stay until she's 18.'

0:34:230:34:27

What do you think's going to happen when you're 18?

0:34:270:34:29

-Do you think you're going to be all right on your own?

-I hope so.

0:34:290:34:32

I think I'll be all right. It needs to work.

0:34:320:34:36

It needs to. I'm not going to let it fail.

0:34:360:34:40

Nope, not happening. It's not failing.

0:34:400:34:43

-It's going to go right.

-Do you worry that if you lose your temper once you turn 18

0:34:430:34:47

that it might end up going too far, and when you're 18 you might end up in prison?

0:34:470:34:50

Yeah. 100%. I do. But so far, I have, kind of, got away with it,

0:34:500:34:54

because I've not been in a position where I've had to go to prison.

0:34:540:34:56

In that sense, I am quite lucky.

0:34:560:34:59

But when I turn 18 it will be a completely different story,

0:34:590:35:01

because I won't just be some kid.

0:35:010:35:02

I'll be an adult. You're 18 now, you've got responsibility.

0:35:020:35:05

Take responsibility for your own actions.

0:35:050:35:08

'I believe she can leave it all behind.

0:35:080:35:10

'Coral is more than her time in care.

0:35:100:35:13

'She's funny, clever, and determined.

0:35:130:35:16

'All she really needs is a stable home.

0:35:160:35:18

'Just like Liam.'

0:35:180:35:20

So, Liam just texted me, he is at Life Share.

0:35:220:35:25

So hopefully, he'll still be there by the time we get there,

0:35:250:35:28

and we'll actually, finally, get to catch up with him.

0:35:280:35:32

I thought I'd seen the last of Liam.

0:35:320:35:34

When things aren't going well, he seems to disappear.

0:35:340:35:38

I was getting worried, but after two months, finally he's keen to see me.

0:35:380:35:42

Hi. It's Rebecca.

0:35:440:35:46

It's so dark in here.

0:35:460:35:48

-The power's gone.

-Is Liam here?

0:35:480:35:50

No. He's just done one.

0:35:500:35:52

You're joking? 'Just when I thought I'd missed him again...'

0:35:520:35:55

Hello! So, how have you been?

0:35:550:35:59

Very, very shit. Very, very stressed.

0:35:590:36:01

Because, obviously, the activists dumped us off, and they all left us.

0:36:010:36:05

So, last time we spoke, you said that it was like a family.

0:36:050:36:08

And they've turned around to me and said, well, sometimes,

0:36:080:36:11

for you to move on, sometimes family has to push you.

0:36:110:36:15

-They said that?

-Yeah. Sometimes you have to be away from your family to

0:36:150:36:18

move further on. So I turned around and was like, well,

0:36:180:36:20

I left my family very far away from me, and look where I am.

0:36:200:36:24

'I can't believe that Liam's lost another family after everything he's

0:36:240:36:28

'been through. Now, more than ever, he needs a home.

0:36:280:36:31

'That's what everyone deserves,

0:36:310:36:34

'especially after they haven't really had one as a child.

0:36:340:36:37

'And that's what Tyler keeps on fighting for.

0:36:390:36:42

'At last, he has his appointment with the housing association.'

0:36:420:36:46

Hopefully, this will be all right.

0:36:460:36:49

-Tyler.

-Hello?

-How are you feeling?

0:36:490:36:51

A bit nervous. I mean, it could go either way.

0:36:510:36:54

How important is this meeting for you?

0:36:540:36:56

Very. It decides what the next step is.

0:36:560:37:01

It decides what the next plan is, where we go from here.

0:37:010:37:04

I want to think positive that it's going to be all right.

0:37:040:37:07

But I feel like I'm going to go in here now,

0:37:070:37:08

and I'm going to get a massive reality check.

0:37:080:37:11

Who knows?

0:37:110:37:14

'Tyler's reality is that even the smallest mistake can have huge

0:37:140:37:18

'consequences after you've been in care.'

0:37:180:37:20

Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.

0:37:200:37:22

Tyler just wants to live.

0:37:250:37:27

His outcome for today is either he makes a step towards getting that,

0:37:270:37:32

and he makes a step towards creating a future,

0:37:320:37:36

or he's just going to be stuck in this horrific spiral,

0:37:360:37:39

and probably again, end up homeless.

0:37:390:37:43

'Just under an hour later, Tyler and Sophie are out of the meeting.'

0:37:430:37:46

..for everything. You're absolutely amazing.

0:37:460:37:48

See you later, Jo.

0:37:480:37:50

-Yeah!

-How was it?

0:37:500:37:52

It was really good. They explained the process,

0:37:520:37:56

and they've done a couple of referrals already to the credit union

0:37:560:38:00

and tenancy training, and stuff like that,

0:38:000:38:02

which, obviously, is going to help me in the long run.

0:38:020:38:04

Because I can manage stuff better, and budgeting, and...

0:38:040:38:08

I'm going to sleep a little bit better tonight.

0:38:110:38:14

Just a little bit.

0:38:140:38:15

Oh, my God, baby. It's actually happening.

0:38:190:38:22

'Tyler has a way to go until he has a place of his own,

0:38:220:38:26

'but for the time being,

0:38:260:38:27

'he and Sophie have moved into their own room in the hostel.

0:38:270:38:31

'It's a start.'

0:38:310:38:32

This year, 10,000 children will leave care.

0:38:340:38:37

I don't want them to face the same obstacles as some of the people I've met.

0:38:370:38:41

They can't just be forgotten about.

0:38:410:38:44

Care never leaves us, and I don't think the support should either.

0:38:440:38:48

'If the Government is going to act as our parent,

0:38:480:38:51

'then that's a job it should take on for life.'

0:38:510:38:53

Hello! I'm just going to run upstairs and get changed.

0:38:530:38:58

'When I left uni, I moved back in with Michelle and Simon.

0:38:580:39:01

'They weren't paid to look after me any more, but that didn't matter.'

0:39:010:39:05

That's better. This is me helping.

0:39:050:39:07

'Now, they are my family.'

0:39:070:39:11

'I think if I'd have gone to a place that'

0:39:110:39:16

wasn't as loving, and as supportive, it would have just broken me.

0:39:160:39:20

I've been given a home, and not a house.

0:39:200:39:23

And I've actually been treated as a vulnerable child,

0:39:230:39:29

and not a case file.

0:39:290:39:31

And with that been able to heal.

0:39:310:39:35

And, yeah, the scars from my wounds will still be there,

0:39:360:39:39

but at least I can move forward.

0:39:390:39:41

Deeply personal documentary in which Rebecca Southworth traces her own life - abused as a child and then taken into social services care. She explores why so many people end up living such troubled lives after they leave the care system.