When interviewed, I am often asked when and why I began fostering, all those years ago. This is the story of when and why; it is also the true story of Dawn. Dawn was the second child I fostered and nearly became the last. It is set at a time before The Children’s Acts, when there was no training for foster carers, no record keeping, no meetings, no background information on the child, little accountability, and no support. ‘Dump ’em and run’ seemed to be the philosophy of the social services at the time, and the more disturbed the child was, the faster and quicker the social services ran. Because of all the changes in fostering and social work practice, this story shouldn’t happen now, although doubtless there is a foster carer somewhere who can prove differently.
Cut is a heart-rending story of a girl who went through so much, and spent her teenage years misunderstood and desperate. She eventually fell into the home of Cathy Glass and her husband – first-time foster parents who had just had a baby son of their own – and immediately she began to wreak havoc; or so it seemed from the outside. Cathy’s love and patience are astounding, and they shine through the pages to make this book a must-read for anyone who is considering adopting a teenager or older child. The admission within the first few pages that Cathy had assumed fostering would be ‘easy’ was astounding – but, like she says herself, there was little or no support for foster carers at that point, and she had no idea what to expect.