Case Study by Josh

Josh is a 13 year old boy who is looked after by the local authority following both his mom and dad choosing that they did not wish to take care of him any longer and no extended family came forward to act as his special guardian. Josh was living in a residential care home with three other males and initially presented as a shy but kind and considerate young man. Over time Josh’s behaviours began to deteriorate and he would regularly go missing from home for long periods of time. When Josh returned, he looked dirty and tired but always had new items such as a phone or jewellery. The staff at the home attempted to talk with Josh about his behaviours but he would storm away and lock himself in him room. All concerns were passed along to Josh’s social worker.

When I first moved into the care home I was scared but also just really grateful that I would have safe and loving adults to take care of me. I loved the fact that there were other boys for me to play with too and we all used to play games together in the lounge. One day one of the boys was playing the game and told me that if I won he would give me £50! I couldn’t believe it so I tried hard and when I did win I was even more shocked that he did give me the money. I felt rich and hid the money from the staff. The next day he wanted to play again but this time for £100 – I lost. When I explained that I didn’t have the extra £50 to give to him he got mad and said that I would need to work off my debt then. That same night he showed me how to run away from the home without staff knowing and before I realised, I was in a car on the way to the train station to meet a man with drugs. That was the first time and it just kept going from there. When the staff tried to talk to me it was always in front of the other boy and so I just said nothing. When they told my social worker she spoke to me alone and it just all came out.

Outcome One

My social worker immediately called the police who came to the care home. I was so scared that the other boy and the gang he was apart of would find out I had grassed but the police reassured me that they would keep me safe. I had to give a statement and also had to move to another home far away. I didn’t want to leave the home because I liked the staff there but I was so scared about the gang that I just went. The new home wasn’t as nice as the old one but it was really close to a beach and the staff would take me there when I was struggling. They also worked with my social worker to get me a support worker who specifically works with children who have been exploited by gangs and it’s so nice to have someone who understands what happened to me without me having to explain all the time. I think I’ll probably stay in this area for ever now, it’s a good place to build a life and I know that support is out there.

Outcome Two

When my social worker called the police I was so scared and they came to the home to see me. The officer looked annoyed and it made me feel like I couldn’t talk to him about what was really happening. I told them that it had been my choice to take the drugs to another city and that no one was forcing me to. The police then charged me with dealing drugs and I was given a YOT order. The boy at the house was happy that I had not grassed him up but said that I was “too hot” to carry anything else as the police would be watching me. My social worker realised that I was still not happy and asked if I wanted to move homes. I was so happy to hear her say this and said yes straight away but still didn’t tell her about the boy at the house and how he was targeting the new residents. When I moved I felt like a weight had been lifted of me but now I have a YOT order on my record I am scared how this will effect my future.

What I would say to any young person living in a home with domestic abuse is:

I know that not everyone likes to have a social worker in their lives or thinks that they do not help children but they really are the best people to open up to if you can and they have a duty to help you, even if you don’t want them to sometimes.