Thursday, February 28, 2013

Another Forgotten Child

Another Forgotten Child by Cathy Glass
HarperCollins UK,  2/5/2013
Trade Paperback, 309 pages
ISBN-13: 9780007486779

A new memoir from Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Cathy Glass.Eight-year-old Aimee was on the child protection register at birth. Her five older siblings were taken into care many years ago. So no one can understand why she was left at home to suffer for so long. It seems Aimee was forgotten.The social services are looking for a very experienced foster carer to look after Aimee and, when she reads the referral, Cathy understands why. Despite her reservations, Cathy agrees to Aimee on – there is something about her that reminds Cathy of Jodie (the subject of ‘Damaged’ and the most disturbed child Cathy has cared for), and reading the report instantly tugs at her heart strings.When she arrives, Aimee is angry. And she has every right to be. She has spent the first eight years of her life living with her drug-dependent mother in a flat that the social worker described as ‘not fit for human habitation’. Aimee is so grateful as she snuggles into her bed at Cathy’s house on the first night that it brings Cathy to tears.Aimee’s aggressive mother is constantly causing trouble at contact, and makes sweeping allegations against Cathy and her family in front of her daughter as well. It is a trying time for Cathy, and it makes it difficult for Aimee to settle. But as Aimee begins to trust Cathy, she starts to open up. And the more Cathy learns about Aimee’s life before she came into care, the more horrified she becomes.It’s clear that Aimee should have been rescued much sooner and as her journey seems to be coming to a happy end, Cathy can’t help but reflect on all the other ‘forgotten children’ that are still suffering…

My Thoughts:
Cathy Glass is a pseudonym for a prolific author who writes about her personal experiences as a foster parent in the U.K. Another Forgotten Child is Cathy Glass's latest book/memoir. Aimee is a terribly abused and neglected eight year old child who was on the at risk child protection register at birth, but still fell through the cracks of a woefully inadequate, unorganized system. This bureaucratic oversight resulted in Aimee being left with a vicious, drug addicted, negligent mother, Susan. When Glass took over her care, Aimee was filthy, dressed in ill-fitting rags, lice-ridden, covered in bruises, and had no experience with basic personal hygiene. She had a defiant attitude, and had been subsisting on a horrendous diet consisting mostly of sweets. Soon Glass also realized that Aimee was likely also the victim of sexual abuse.
Aimee's mother, Susan, who had all five of her older children removed from her care years ago, knew how to work the system and complain, exaggerate, and twist events to try and exploit the various social workers an get her way. She is very insulting, threatening, and difficult to work with. It is obvious that Aimee's ordered supervised visits with her mother three times a week, and the telephone calls on the days other days were not in her best interest. 
Set up as relating a chronological series of events to the reader, like a journal, Glass's account of Aimee's arrival and her discovery of additional information is presented in a forthright way with no hyperbole or drama - beyond what Glass does to protect herself from Susan's unfounded accusations. She also includes many of the day to day actions that occurred while caring for Aimee. While there are times when this approach feels tiresome, the whole story is still very riveting. It is almost like you are reading a caseworkers detached account of a client. 
The biggest thing Cathy Glass does, beyond helping Aimee, is making an incontrovertible case that Aimee was not properly watched and served by the social services system in the U.K. In her case they did not serve her best interests and their neglect cause a child to suffer harm needlessly for eight years.
Very Highly Recommended - I had a few reservations about Cathy Glass's Another Forgotten Child however, once I started reading it I could not put it down.

Cathy has been a foster carer for over 20 years, during which time she has looked after more than 75 children, of all ages and backgrounds. Cathy runs training courses on fostering for her local Social Services, and helps draft new fostering procedures and guidelines. She has three teenage children of her own; one of whom was adopted after a long-term foster placement. The name Cathy Glass is a pseudonym.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is horrible to realize that there are so many children like Aimee out there, but heartening that there are people like Cathy as well.

Thanks for being on the tour.