This project explores the journey of a young person through the care system and into care leaving. It’s a collaboration between me and the subject in trying to create a story about who they are which focuses on the significance of physi- cal objects in relation to their past, the meaning of ‘home’ today and their image of self in the future.
“When I was 7 I went into care, because my birth mum, she’s got mental health issues. That was based on my dads domestic violence which affected her.
My nan isn’t very supportive, if you would cry in front of her she’d say you are weak minded. That affected her because she never had support. I’ve had 20 different placements.
I think about my future and things I need to do to better myself. I think about my mum. She is always on my mind. A big part, a massive part.
I was going into teenage years, like 15, 16, so it was all a bit too much for me. I was experiencing with one boy, but there were things I didn’t wanna do. That became a lot, and I started to feel very suicidal. That carer couldn’t help me, so I moved again. Thats how I found my foster mum, I was with her for 5 years. She put up with quite a lot, there was a time when I almost set the house on fire cause I was playing with a lighter. I used to just run away. But she didn’t give up, thats why I love her. She never gives up on me. After I left my mum I was basically homeless for a month. I used to sleep in McDonalds. My family couldn’t help me cause they were too busy.
We could get more support. They could do more. I hate not knowing. They tell me I’m gonna move next week, but they don’t know where I am moving to or what area. When I ask them questions they don’t have an answer. Not knowing what is going to happen, the next steps..
Recently people have said that I’ve changed and that I’m a bit rude. I do think I am going through a stage at the moment, trying to find myself.
Home for me is somewhere where I am comfortable and food is there. Cause I’ve been in situations through all the placements I’ve moved to. If I’m uncomfortable I don’t even unpack my suitcase. I leave it as it is.
My teddy bear has been on a journey with me. It’s been in the car when I’m moving, I’ve had it since 7.”
"I don’t have a particular place that I feel like at home. Its nice to have an apartment to live and sleep but the whole world is my home.
I have a connection to this towel that I’ve had since I was 1. It reminds me of my childhood. It just means a lot to me, its kind of weird. It doesn’t actually bring me any memories, I can just remember the towel and nothing else."
“My mum was very toxic and abusive. My dad and her split up so he wasn’t around cause she got custody. She was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. We were in year 11 and it got to the point where we couldn’t live with my mum anymore. We went to social services but they didn’t do anything. They came to the house but our mum worked her way with them because she is quite manipulative. I told one of the people at school about it and then social services got involved. I went to A&E cause my sister was worried I was going to kill myself. Thats when I spoke to nurses and a psychiatrist spoke to me and then they put us under police protection. The next day we were put in emergency foster care. My sister always said she did all of that to save me, but I was doing it to save her.
I look at myself in a mirror and its like seeing my sister. I used to spend a lot of time in front of the mirror brushing my hair and getting ready for school with her. Its a nice memory. I guess its kind of how you get ready to represent yourself to the outside world. Your little safe place before you step out.”
"When I was in Egypt I was supporting my family. I was working since 10 years old and I gave most of the money to my mum. I was working in a food place all night. I start at 9pm until 4am. My mum would wait for me with my bath, and I would sleep a few hours before school. Other people were thinking about fun things, love, buying stuff to their girlfriend. I never thought about that, I don’t know why. I was just working and saving money.
I had to leave my country when I was 14 years old. I went to Italy by boat and stayed there for 1 year. I didn’t tell anyone there about my story. I worked in the car wash for 6 months to save money and go to England.
The most important thing for me is my mum who is back home. I speak to her every morning and evening. I send money home every month. I haven’t seen my mum for 6 years now and I hope we see each other soon. My biggest dream is to see her.
Home is to be safe. In my country I was scared to walk in the street. I feel like I am in a safe place now."
"Obviously you don’t really understand whats going on at that age, but the family that took us in were really great and treated us like their own family members. Its quite traumatising though cause you know you don’t have that mum and dad family figure there. When you go to school, I used to see friends and stuff with their parents and I wished I had that. It does make you feel like an outsider. It make you question why things happened and you are vulnerable. So many people who have been through care are vulnerable throughout their whole life.
What makes me unique is the journey I have been through throughout my life. Its what shapes who I am. Including me having kids. "
"The most important object to me is my brothers jacket, it’s 11 years old. It still smells like him. I sleep with it when I’m sad.
The picture looked like my mind, like what I think of myself. Everything I feel about myself behind me that no-one can see. The other half, like my face, is what everyone can see. I am nice and caring, and I am happy with who I am and how I turned out through my life experiences. Im a boogie bitch and I forever will be until I am old.
Life isn’t always as bad as it seems. It can always get better and it always get worse. Just take everyday as it comes."