Amber, 19, shook her anonymity to tell her story.

From the age of 13, he jumped through the care system, on a journey into ever-increasing isolation and abuse, ending with his placement in “prison-like” secure accommodation “for his own safety”.

Like many children, she was removed from her home, in part, due to alleged parental neglect, but what she experienced in subsequent years appears to be state neglect; little supervision, zero stability, and easy prey for sexual predators.

The care order was issued in March 2016, but a year later, her time with her oldest foster family ended abruptly, when the family decided they wanted to go on vacation without her, in part because she kept running away.

Eight more locations followed, but within weeks she was moved to a children’s home and deemed “the most at-risk child in the area.”

She tells Sky News: “You always wonder why you’re not good enough to stay there. And it will always be in the back of my mind: why wasn’t I good enough? Why didn’t they want me?”

She often ran back to her friends and family in Hull, but was not allowed to stay with her mother and became increasingly vulnerable.

She says, “When I was home, if a man came up to me, he’d say, ‘Why are you talking to me? Go away,’ but being away, like a familiar area, people see the vulnerabilities.”

The system’s response was to keep moving it. At age 14, she was moved to a residential home 120 miles away.

Amber, who since the age of 13 in March 2016 has been bounced through social care.  She tells her story to Sky's Jason Farrell
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Over a period of two and a half years, Amber disappeared 106 times.

Amber felt completely alone. She and another girl ran away and ended up at the house of a man who gave them brandy and asked them to photograph them naked.

‘As if nothing had happened’

She says, “He told her to get out of the room, then he raped me and then he called his friend. His friend came over and did the same thing.”

“And then he dropped us off at the train station as if nothing had happened.”

What happened next became a recurring theme in Amber’s story. The crime was reported to the police and then apparently forgotten. A few weeks later she ran away again, this time with two girls. One we will call Millie, also lived in care.

Millie disappeared 280 times in a three-year period. Often she stayed with strangers.

Millie told Sky News: “Not just the people I met, the people I would talk to on Facebook and stuff… It just didn’t keep me safe. But I was so desperate not to be at the kids’ house.” home because I felt so isolated.

Millie says that, at age 15, she met Amber through social media. Another girl, 14, introduced them to a group of men in Shrewsbury, who offered them alcohol and a place to stay.

Amber, who since the age of 13 in March 2016 has been bounced through social care.  She tells her story to Sky's Jason Farrell
Image:
Amber says that she and Millie were seen as troublesome runaways, not victims of child sexual exploitation.

More men were invited to the property and both girls say they were raped. The next day they went to the police.

Amber says: “They (the police) took pictures of my neck and obviously I told them what I knew, but no one, no one cared, like no one cared at all.”

‘Random Houses…Dangerous Men’

“We were seen more as runaways and bad people than victims of CSE (child sexual exploitation).”

Millie says, “People put you down, I realized that. And the police, they would just think ‘well, she’s in care, so she’s naughty.'”

Warning: This episode (below) includes references to child abuse.

She adds: “Before I was taken care of, I would say that anyone who knew me would say that I was so innocent. I lived in houses with dangerous men.”

Read more:
England’s social care system ‘madly inadequate’
Social care in England is ‘a Jenga tower held together with duct tape’

West Mercia Police told Sky News: “We can confirm that in 2018 we received a report of a number of offenses and at that time officers carried out a full and thorough investigation, however there was insufficient evidence to forward the investigation. to the CPS.

“It takes a lot of courage to come forward and report these crimes, and we would like to offer our assurances that we will always investigate any allegation of child sexual abuse with sensitivity and compassion.”

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care has harshly criticized the current system of care for children from troubled backgrounds.

Bribed to lie to Ofsted

It recommends an additional investment of £2.5bn, mainly to help families stay together and end the chair. Josh MacAlister Calls Out the Human Tragedy of Child Welfare.

Amber’s mother, who does not want to be named, had all of her children removed from parental care after a marriage breakup.

she was accused of alcohol and drug abuse, but says, “I asked for a drug test. They never gave it to me.”

She believes her daughter would have been safer at home.

She says: “Amber changed, massively, and it was very worrying because no one was listening. No one would do anything.

“All the police cared about was getting her back to where she needed to be.

“And all social services was concerned with was getting her back to where she needed to be. The whole CSE was going on. And no one cared. They just left her alone.”

Amber wanted to be with her parents and would continue to run home, only to be sent back because it wasn’t allowed. Meanwhile, Amber says she was bribed by staff at the children’s home to lie to the Ofsted inspectors.

She says of the time of the Ofsted report: “I wanted a new coat at the time, and they told me that if I spoke well (to the inspectors) they would give me money to buy a new coat.”

Hard drugs and criminal gangs

In August 2018, Amber was transferred to a specialized child sexual exploitation unit, even further from home.

She says: “All the girls there had been exploited. I quickly realized that all they wanted to do was go and meet men because that was what was normal for them.”

“But, with my stuff, it was all pretty fresh with what happened to me. So I didn’t want to do it. But when people say ‘Come on, come on,’ you’re pretty influenced to go.”

“But the house itself was shocking. Like the staff, no one really talked to you. The managers stayed in the office all day and didn’t really interact. There was no specialized care.”

Within days, Amber ran away with other girls from the house to south London. Here she was introduced to hard drugs and she was raped again, this time by men in criminal gangs.

Over a period of two and a half years, Amber disappeared 106 times. Upon returning to her residential home there was an immediate request to move her to a secure unit.

Her mother read a social services report on Amber and says, “I read the first page and started crying. I couldn’t even read it… Just the horrible sexual abuse. Knives, drugs, alcohol. Many, many men.” – I wouldn’t even call them men, just animals.”

Closer to loved ones

She adds: “Parents are powerless, because as far as they’re concerned, we’ve lost our children. So, ‘you can keep quiet,’ you know, ‘you can’t say anything. We have the care required.'”

Amber feels that no one was interested in what had happened to her. She describes the secure unit as “like a prison.” They stripped her naked upon entering her and kept her in a locked room for long hours.

She says, “I think at the time, they just thought ‘out of sight, out of mind’ because I was locked in a secure unit, I’m not going to tell anyone.”

“I just thought ‘why am I here, when they’re walking the streets?’ I think they saw me more as a fugitive. There was no ‘Why are you doing this? Are you okay’?”

The top 10 childcare providers made profits of £300m last year. The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care suggests an extraordinary tax on them to help pay for aid to families in crisis, to try to keep them together.

In a series of recommendations, he calls for new methods to keep children in broader family networks, closer to their loved ones.

Anyone who is emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK



Reference-news.sky.com

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