Select Committee on Work and Pensions Written Evidence


  Jerome's story, Wakefield

  "In 1986 my father was made redundant from the pit and my mother lost her nursing job when the county hospital closed down for good. My family plunged into a nightmare.

  "1987 started badly because money was scarce and my father could not accept the fact that he couldn't find employment and that he had lost his father. He came home drunk one evening from the local pub and had a disagreement with my mother over buying some shoes for my younger sister. The argument finally spun out of control when my father struck out at my mother and knocked her to the ground.

  "In 1988 my father and mother both found employment again but the deep-seated hate they now had for each other would boil over again and from then on violence would be a part of everyday life in the household.

  "Soon after my tenth birthday my father lost his job again. Most of the money my mother earned went on fuelling my father's drinking problems.

  "My older brother was arrested for shoplifting and his crime gradually became more serious—targeting neighbours who then sought violent revenge against the rest of the family. Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. In April 1994 my grandma died of a heart attack in hospital while awaiting a heart bypass operation. The next month my mother went to work drunk and was sacked.

  "Within two days me and my younger sister were safe and snug in a foster home in Wakefield. The same week I was knocked down and after two weeks in hospital was returned home until January 1995 when Social Services took all of us into care on Accommodation Orders for our own safety. My parents then divorced.

  "From June that year I was in and out of innumerable foster homes, supported lodgings placements and two months in a God-forsaken excuse for a hotel until finally settling down in my present placement."

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