When I was 14, my Mum and Dad split up and my Dad moved out. My Mum moved her new partner into our house to live with me and my younger siblings and things began to change. If I ever said anything bad about my Mum’s partner to her I would always be punished - it got so bad in the house that I had to leave. I moved in with my Dad for a bit but I didn’t stay there for long.

A few months after, I met up with my brothers and sisters who told me about some of the problems they were having with my Mum’s partner and I had to call social services. They took us all into foster care but I didn’t like it so they tried to move me into another place. It was horrible so I moved back into my Mums but we just kept arguing. I moved in with a mate for a few months and then went back to live with my Dad but we got into serious arguments and I had to leave from there again to stay at another friends. My education suffered quite a bit – the stress of my home life made me miss school because I just couldn’t take the pressure.

I really didn't have a stable life from the age of 14 onwards.
Nicole

I constantly wanted to run away, I just couldn't take what was happening at home. There were many times I thought about living rough and what it would be like, but I was lucky that I never had to experience it because I always had a friends couch I could sleep on.

We got referred to the Action for Children centre by our social worker, who has been really helpful. This is where I used to have contact with my brothers and sisters about two or three times a week for a few hours. It was really nice seeing them but was so emotional when they had to leave, and I had to say goodbye. We used to play games or hang out outside in the playground, there would always be something to do at the centre. If it wasn't available it would have been so hard to see my brothers and sisters and stay in contact with them - I’m so grateful. 

My social worker is supporting my Dad and helping him intensively with parenting. I don’t have a relationship with my Dad right now and with my Mum it’s on and off. I do get angry about what happened in the past; I always felt like my Mum was never there for me and always put her partner before me.

I do sometimes wonder that why my parents acted the way they did. You sort of expect them to take responsibility because they are the adults and I just couldn’t understand why they would put someone else before their own children. That is something I could never do.
Nicole

Now I’m 16, I have moved into a hostel and have settled into a college placement which I am doing really well in. I am looking to get my own place now and start a new course in September, to get my GCSE qualifications. Things are much better now – I slowly feel like I have my life back on track.

I’m studying Health and Social Care because I want to work with teenagers like myself who have been through awful situations or be a family support worker. Just like Action for Children helped me.

 

 

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