In 2016/2017 Becky Clarke and Karen Kent, researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University, undertook a piece of work with the Care Leavers Association to gather the experiences of adult care leavers who had sought access to records of their time in care.
The findings from this piece of research are captured in the report ‘Battling with a Care-less Process’. What we found was deeply saddening. The reflections reveal how experiences of powerlessness, unforgotten from childhood, are reproduced for adults who are legitimately seeking answers.
‘The late 1970’ and 1980’s when these records were written, the derogatory language used about my behaviour, being for attention. I was hurt and disgusted by what they had said about me and my family. There was nothing down about how they treated me.’ (Female, late 40’s)
‘I wouldn’t go through that experience again, even if I am left with questions.’ (Male, mid 30’s)
‘This was the most important thing in the world to me, but now I have been through all that to get information that was no use, I think it is just too hard.’ (Female, early 40’s)
‘I wanted help to get answers to end a nightmare but I was up against the same arrogance and attitude I received from the social worker that took me to Woodend at 12. I am 51 now, damaged.’ (Male, early 50’s)
The full report can be read here: CLA ATR Report Nov 2017
On the 27th November 2018 the Access to Care Records Campaign Group (ACRCG) will hold an event in the House of Lords, with the aim of re-igniting action to address the legislative, policy and practice issues. We will share the findings from the research in the hope that those with the power to support change will act.