The Looked After Child

Chapter 2 – Siblings

“There are upwards of seventy thousand Looked After Children in the U.K. at any given time.

Some of these children are only in care for short episodes and many of them are rehabilitated back to their families after only a singular brief episode in care.  Some though are in care for longer periods and some drift back and forth between the care system and their birth families all their lives. However, a significant minority of these children are in care continuously, kept away from their families throughout most of their lives, some of them from birth to adulthood. Some Looked After Children go on to make a success of their lives, however success is defined, and find happiness, some do not. It is a known fact that grown up Looked after Children who have reached adulthood and have left the care system are inordinately represented in many of the negative aspects of adult life. Such aspects as: prison; mental health, substance abuse, violent crime, premature death, suicide and so on. It is also well known that the experience of being a looked after child can be passed on from one generation to the next. It would be untrue to state that it is common but it is not unknown either and there are many examples today within families where the children, their parents and their parents in turn too, have all had experience of being in the care system as children.

The story of such a family, The Pugh Family is a sad and tragic one. In paradox it probably begins with an end, this particular end being the end of somebody’s life.

In the summer of 1995 and at the tragically young age of twenty-four, Leanne Pugh died of a drug overdose. It wasn’t a shock to anybody, in fact the few adult connections that she had, none of them family, for she had no adult family members, had expected it for several years. Leanne became a drug addict whilst still at school. In her short life she didn’t make any real attempt to shake off her habit, once she acquired it she just accepted it and just carried on with it as if it was part of herself and as such, part of her own destiny. School made little impression upon her and she made little impression upon school. By the time she had stopped attending permanently, of her own volition, at the age of twelve, her academic status would have been best described as illiterate and innumerate. At the age of fifteen she gave birth to her first child. She would go on to have five children in total, each of them had a different father…..”

Chapter 3 – Monday Morning

“Senetti looked Alberta Curtis-Brightland in the eye. She was black and she wore spectacles, she was three or four inches shorter than his midge’s short of six foot. Even beyond the spectacles, he could see that she had clear brown eyes. She was slim, trim, and toned and he thought that she had that face and body scrub, clear-skinned, strict diet, gymnasium, three circuits a week, steam room look. She wore an immaculate white open-neck shirt under her black trouser suit. All put together she was physically a very attractive woman. He guessed her to be in her mid to late thirties. The most noticeable aspect about her to him though, was not a particular feature but a general absence. She wore no jewellery of any kind, her face, hands and body were completely devoid of it, there was not a ring, bangle, broach, necklace, nor even a watch to be seen anywhere about her, he considered this unusual for a woman, particularly one who had a taste for expensive perfume. He quickly summed her up to her to be: unmarried, childless and career driven and even though she hadn’t yet spoken a word, he decided that he probably wouldn’t like what she had to say if and when she did. He also knew that it was as an absolute certainty that she was going to say something, and whatever it was she was about to say, he wasn’t looking forward to hearing it. He was also now aware that she was undoubtedly the reason for his interrupted Monday morning.

Alberta Curtis-Brightland looked upon Danny Senetti, she thought that she’d heard the name somewhere before but she couldn’t quite remember where or why, she half recalled that it was to do with some scandal but she couldn’t remember any more.  She supposed him to be in his mid-forties. He was nothing original, she had seen his type many times before.  Local Councillors, they came in all ages, physical shapes and sizes and both genders too, but there was little else difference between most of them. Danny Senetti, she thought, he probably cared for nobody and nothing, except his own children, his mother and the success or failure of his next election, whenever that was and not necessarily in that order. On reflection she now thought, probably in his late forties, he looked to her as if he’d been drinking last night, which he probably had, he was unshaven and his shirt was all creased, it was probably the one he had been wearing yesterday. She thought to herself that he had the appearance of somebody who bought his clothes from charity shops or perhaps had them given to him and today he had got up and gone out in a hurry. She glanced down at his shoes which were scuffed and unpolished. His clothes were crumpled as indeed he seemed to be. In contrast she was drawn to his hands. They were scrupulously clean, his fingernails were perfectly and expertly manicured, and they had not been done by him, although she only caught a glimpse of it, he wore what appeared to be an expensive wristwatch, the watch didn’t go with the rest of him and she wondered about it. She thought that whilst he may have been a stranger to the local tailor he would be well known to the local manicurist.

She decided as most people did on first meeting Councillor Danny Senetti, that whatever the situation, no matter how important or unimportant it was, that he was just not to be trusted with it, nor was he himself to be relied upon either. Just then she received an impromptu insight into his personality. His mobile phone rang in his trouser pocket, he fished it out and without even giving it a glance, disconnected whoever was trying to reach him, switched it off completely and put it back from where he’d drawn it. Alberta thought that whosoever was calling and whatsoever it was about, mundane issue or life or death situation, as far as Senetti was concerned, then they could get lost! Looking across at Karen Spencer he said what Alberta thought was with a distinct hint of sarcasm.

‘Well whatever it is, first thing on a Monday morning, it can’t be as important as this can it.’ He said it more as a statement than a question.”

Author’s Note

I am hoping to finish this book by the end of this year for publication in early 2016.  Feel free to email me, using the contact form, if you want to pre-book a paper copy which I will be happy to sign for you. I will be updating the website on a regular basis providing information on how I am progressing so I hope you will visit my site again.

Copyright © 2015 K. C. Dowling

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