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It should be a happy ending when an abused child is removed from their unsafe home. But for many, entering foster care is just more confusion and upheaval. The average child in care moves house around six times before they find a permanent family.
As a toddler, Riley watched his parents attack each other. When his dad left, his mum fell in with a gang and sold drugs. She often took to her bed for days on end, leaving this tiny boy to fend for himself. When Riley was found wandering alone at a train station at three years old, his mum had no idea that he’d even gone missing.
He went into care with the department, but finding the right family for a toddler this traumatised was not easy. He craved attention but knew only destructive ways of getting it -- screaming and lashing out, soiling the carpet, hurling things around. With each home that rejected him, his behaviour got more extreme.
By the time Riley came to Barnardos at age five, he had lived in 12 different foster houses. He had no sense of safety, no routine, and no concept of a family. He believed he would never have a real home – and that it was all his fault.
When children act out because they’ve been abandoned, their placements often break down yet again. Please donate now so Barnardos can provide all the support they need to make a home work, forever. Every child deserves to know who will tuck them into bed each night.
(Models Used and Names Changed to Protect Privacy.)