The One Percent Project – A Timeline through care

‘Sam’ is 19 year old care leaver; she spent 10 years in care. Growing up, her relationship with her parents was complicated due to their separation before she was born. The mother had an alcohol problem, due to this she struggled with mental health issues and would often make ‘Sam’ suffer neglect and emotional detachment. This led to ‘Sam’’s attachment problems which affected her future relationships with people. When ‘Sam’ was taken into care she lost her relationship with her mother; she didn’t wish to keep the bond. During this time ‘Sams’ father was serving his sentence in jail, and ‘Sam’ entered the care system. When he was released she had the option to live with her father but declined the offer as she was happily settled in her foster placement.

Eight years on, after she has turned sixteen it was time for her to sit her GCSE’s which would determine her acceptance into college. In her last year of secondary school, she started missing lessons which gradually turned into days and ended up with her not attending school at all. This was because her mental health deteriorated rapidly and because of this she couldn’t cope sitting every GCSE subject. She later selected the core subjects so she could still get the minimum of GCSE’s as her dream was to excel and get into a college.

While struggling with her mental health she went looking for support in hope to get an insight to where the struggles arose from. Before this, several placement had broken down over the years until she found a carer who took the time to get an understanding of the issues ‘Sam’ faced. This was a positive relationship for her.

‘Sam’ had joined her local Children in Care Council in hope to meet others who share the care experience and had been in a similar situation. She wanted to have a say in the way the services for young people in care were delivered.

‘Sam’ wanted to see her father so she had supervised contacts with him every month in a local contact centre until she was confident enough to meet him independently. When she first met him, after he was released from prison, she felt awkward and slightly scared because she hadn’t seen him such a long time. He wanted to give ‘Sam’ hand written letters from her Mother but she was never comfortable receiving letter from someone who she didn’t wish to have any relationship with. She kept the letters but never opened them. She never had high expectations from parental roles, any relationship was difficult and this was a result of her trust issues. She found it hard to trust anyone she encountered. Lots of people around her offered her support but she stills feel lonely inside and tended to isolate herself from everyone else; she would go into a depressive state and struggle to come back out from it.

When she reached the age of 16 and a Half, Pathway came into her life and slowly became her main support as she was approaching the time to start thinking and planning for leaving care. The pathway team is what you get when you’re transitioning out of care, either into independence, supported living or staying put. The pathway worker takes over the role of your social worker, supporting you with managing bills and food, life skills, setting goals, showing you how to apply for jobs and support you in every aspect of transitioning into adulthood and being independent. ‘Sam’ now has her own independent living space, a small flat in the city. She is searching for an apprenticeship as she doesn’t feel mentally prepared for the stress of university life.

Sam is a fictional character created by The One Percent team. Her story about her journey from care to independence will be told through spoken word in collaboration with Hip Hop & Grime Artist Kritikal Powers. Follow the blog for updates.