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A battle too many

This week should be a happy, exciting time. It's the first week if the Easter break. My boy, who is almost 18 has found himself a traineeship in football, something he loves. Sadly, this week has been ruined.
There was great hope, at the start of the week. I was hopeful that on Tuesday, at a meeting of professionals, I would find out that appropriate care would be in place to help my son in the difficult transition towards adulthood. Sadly, as so often us the case, when attending meetings with the local authority, there was no positive news.
To explain the context:
My lovely boy came aged three and a half. He had suffered appalling neglect and abuse for his first two and a half years. In the year he spent in care, he had been in multiple foster care placements. He brought with him a whole package if complex needs arising from his terrible early experiences.
Like many traumatised young people, my boy found it incredibly hard to settle into family life. He found school even harder. He is bright and charming. He makes engaging conversation. He is well read and loves music and sport. He is also volatile, hypervigilant and struggles to self regulate. When his trauma is triggered he lashes out. Verbally and physically.
For us to maintain a positive, healthy relationship he moved into a therapeutic residential school aged 14. As his risk facing behaviours and dysregulation became too frequent, I had to make the very difficult choice for him to not live at home any more much sooner than any parent would wish to. My boy has been accommodated by the local authority under a Section 20 arrangement since that time.
After being excluded from his therapeutic school prior to his GCSE exams, for the very behaviours for which he was placed there,y boy lived briefly in foster care. He could not manage family life - if he could, he'd have still been living at home! After several placements broke down, my poor boy moved into " supported living" accommodation aged 16. Although "specialist" provision, the " support" is in reality limited, often from staff with little or no understanding of Attachment and Trauma. Eventually, he has settled into a small provision where he gets by, much of the time. He still struggles daily with routines and boundaries. He battles with his anxiety, struggles to eat and sleep. He finds relationships threatening. With support from his care provider and a wonderful mentor, who works with him for 15 hours a week, my son is finally making some progress.
Sadly, approaching the milestone of his 18th birthday, my son is being forced out of his safe place. He is losing the only consistent male role model in his life. This is the only man who has never hurt him or let him down. Apparently though, when he falls asleep on the night before his 18th birthday, something is going to change!
My boy needs daily support to manage the simplest tasks. With 24/7  support, he barely copes. This is well documented, he has a detailed EHCP which explains the root of his problems and the strategies which work to support him. As he ceases to be a child, chronologically, he ceases to qualify for any help. My boy, who needs prompting to get up, washed and dressed, who is unable to recognise his own hunger so forgets to eat, apparently, will have to just " get on with it" after his 18th birthday.
My poor boy, who tried so hard to battle his demons in the one hour a fortnight of therapy he received for just one year, when he was 13, will now have to " get over" the massive changes to his brain which occurred when the adults who were supposed to care for him as a baby and toddler hurt him and let him down.
My poor boy, he doesn't have a diagnosis apparently. The CAMHS psychologist who has worked with him for around five years wouldn't diagnose him as it wasn't considered in his best interests to have a label. Now, at almost 18, it's very clearly in his interests, but CAMHS dont work with him any more.
The children's services team, who have funded his support over the last four years on the basis of the psychologists reports, say that he cannot have a continuing care plan, or keep his mentor, because he doesn't meet the threshold for adult services.
My poor boy, is quite literally, being cast adrift, up the creek, without a paddle.
Ed Timpson has campaigned to protect care leavers, to ensure they can have stability up to the age of 21. My boy, my beautiful boy, was too traumatised to live in foster care, or to cope in a residential children's home. Apparently, this means he has no right to stay where he is safe and settled. He was too ill to be in those settings therefore he has to lose out again.
My boy is frightened and depressed. He knows he cannot cope without support and he is being reminded daily that the clock is ticking and he has to leave.
I wonder how I will ever help my poor boy to learn to trust, when the very adults who are supposed to protect him are letting him down again.
I wonder what Ed Timpson thinks about the Local Authorities who ride roughshod over his flagship policies, disregarding the best interests of the child?
I wonder if my poor, vulnerable boy will survive long enough for change to come.


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