Two reports from my files.

Here is the first time the word “aggressive”  was documented  in my life. It reads  “he could very easily become extremely aggressive”. There is no evidence presented to indicate how. could become agressive

The second report  written three months later reads   “Sometimes he can be very emotional about his colour, and when this happens he can be very aggressive.”  Again there is no evidence to how.   I was six years old.   IMG_7284-768x1024Six years old.

22 thoughts on “Two reports from my files.

  1. And of course white men are passive and rarely prone to violence. Ha! Even the newspapers contradict that. Stopping myself from ranting now.

  2. Hi Lemn,
    I have read with anger and heartache, the comments written about you by some numb psychological analyst/social worker, when you lived with the Greenwoods. I’m gobsmacked the colour of your skin is somekind of affliction that ” he will just have to come to terms as he grows up ”
    May have been the 70’s but thats no excuse. Makes me boil.
    Thank goodness much has changed in the child care system, not much though there’s so much work to yet be done, as im sure you are aware of in the great work you do. I try to do my bit, im a foster carer for 2 dumplins, hard work, satisfying that im slowly helping them to grow up into strong, confident, loving young adults who live knowing how to celebrate being black, white, homosexual, disabled and non judgemental. Hopefully parents like me can help damaging attitudes from the past,not to be repeated.
    kind regards, kelly

  3. Dear Lemn
    I agree with you.
    It is very painful. I have some additional thoughts about this piece of recording.
    There are many other things to be concerned about here as well.
    I was a social worker, and then a manager.
    Reading this file, the prediction of aggression is unsupported.
    I can also that there on likely to be difficulty ahead because the social worker and foster parents are not being open and honest with the child. If caregivers do not listen to a child and honestly help them tackle the challenges they face, any child will tend to become distressed. The brighter the child, in my experience, the greater the distress. Such distress is then often labelled as aggression.
    These two pieces of recording show a failure to understand and tackle “Norman’s” understanding that his skin colour is different from his peers.
    His question about whether he is adopted, would have been a great opening for his foster parents and social both to explore these issues with him and gain an understanding of his feelings, and work out with him ways of tackling his feeling of difference.
    There are no excuses. Talking openly about these issues is so important, and so difficult.
    Keep up the good work. Hugs, Judith

  4. I found that report disturbing because it made no mention of any reason why Norman may have issues with the colour of skin. I used to work with families and have never seen a report, ever, where a child of a different colour, made mention of it. Nor did that ever come up. There were other issues, such as behaviour, but it was never taken as part of any racial heritage. I think the worker who wrote this report lacked education, perception and probably common sense.

    • Again I didn’t have issues with the colour of my skin. The only reason I asked about it is because of the abuse I received outside

  5. Apparently I’m aggressive in meetings, according to wigan social workers!
    Funnily enough they didn’t mention how they tried to provoke me in meetings, just to get a reaction for court!
    They also wanted to know about my sex life!
    I’m more concerned about the social workers’ state of mind than my own!
    The things I’ve seen written down that didn’t happen is more distressing than anything I’ve read in books!
    Is it fantasy world, or creative writing?!

  6. There are so many judgemental comments in two short letters. Seems as though problems were created but no attempt was made to understand the little boy they were writing about. It makes me sad that this was happening, even sadder that these kinds of comments and stereotypes are still rife today.

    • Yes it is sad. But I’m good. I’ve done a whole lot of healing. But it is worth knowing that the probelm isn’t with me. I didn’t choose to be there. And I didn’t choose to come home and ask why the people at school or friends where abusing me based n my skin colour. The “problem” is in those who wouldn’t listen that it happened and that it was impossible to counter.

  7. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Of sadness for the little boy and frustration with the social worker and possibly even the parents even though we don’t know what they actually said or what their motives were. But most of all I cry with anger over a belief system so deeply rooted in racist theory. And the worst part is not even being able to say it’s because they didn’t know better back in the day. They clearly don’t know any better now and we see proof of this every day…

  8. Hi Lemn I was shocked and upset when I read the social worker’s report about you when you were a young boy. I am appalled by his/her comments. The social worker suggested that you had a problem with colour and you were going to be the problem. You were simply questioning your identity cos you looked different than the other children. Children want to be the same than their school friends. My son Gianluca was teased about his name at school. One day my son asked me why we called him Gianluca and not John.

  9. What’s this about
    “He thrives on praise and attention, in fact cannot do with out it – this is part of his heritage .
    I thought all children thrived on praise and attention – not unique to any heritage and hardly the problem it’s made to sound .
    Must be very difficult reading these reports for you .

    • I haven’t fully read them. I’m being careful and measuring my ability to read them with my true sense of well being.

      • When social workers get held accountable for their actions, we will see a big difference towards adoption agencies being run by our councils.
        When my complaints about Wigan have been listened to, I’m going to blog 2015/16 for everyone to read.
        Without some people’s advice on this website, I would never have got this far!
        People who used to work around Woodend have advised me to read my assessments and that was a game changer!
        Social workers write the most abusive things about you and make it difficult to take in.
        My story will make a great play one day!
        I hope Lemn knows someone who can help me to put 2015 in a blog because you wouldn’t believe what wigan council did to me and my sons after their dad took his own life.
        Leigh hospital tried to get me sectioned when i asked for counselling for PTSD.
        The worst thing is that my MP’s staff threatened me to keep quiet, or they would ring the police!!
        God help children in care in the 21st century because the dinosaurs running the adoption agencies used to work at Woodend!
        I think of you often Lemn.
        Take care x

  10. This is saddening and such feelings of empathy for the little boy these reports are about, I can’t imagine what it is like reading about you and your life. Saddening too that prejudices are betrayed in the terms used like the start of a script which would be a self fulfilling prophecy. Am Wondering why praise and affection are something that are seen as part of a heritage? All of us need love and praise, it should be something that is unconditional and can be relied upon from our care givers. Such a powerful thing to be in a position to be writing and recording a life and it should never be less than positive and understanding. This seems far from being centred around your needs, your motivation syour future and your security. I wish you all love and peace and hope you are finding support on this journey through the past.

  11. Despite the patronizing tone of the reports ,the talent and enthusiam for life bursts from the report.Didnt they realise” the need to belong ” is what every child needs !How could they have been so blind.?Thanks to your own strength you have survived and give hope to many others xxx

  12. “Something which he will have to come to terms with as he grows up” – so not something that THEY should work with you on when you have been placed in a white family? It was their lack of understanding of the need for a suitable placement that caused the problem. You are not “different” you were placed in a family that was not the same. “Emotional about his colour” . . . . . . in a context where no one is equipped to deal with race issues. “there will be many problems ahead” . . . . . .given that they took no responsibility for addressing the problems? “When this happens he can be VERY aggressive. Norman is not usually aggressive, he shouts but he does not fight” Oh – NOT very aggressive then. He thrives on praise and affection, in fact he can not do without it, this is part of his heritage. WHAT???????? “Norman has asked several times recently whether he is adopted, they have answered him honestly that he is not, they do not think he really understands what it means, but that it is just something that he has heard talked about at school” What like it was some random conversation about adoption in the play ground, or rather people shouting this at you. Are they serious? How about they explain? What adoption is / that you were fostered and discuss the issues. If you are asking, clearly you want to know. Wow. Just wow. So many screw ups in so few lines. I am the white mother of a black child. I will always consider that to be one of the most important decisions I ever made. It comes with one huge great big responsibility.

  13. There’s a lot in this to be disturbed by but the bit that really hit me was the comment about thriving on praise and affection – as though this is something that set you apart and is not true of all children, adults too for that matter.

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