Joe’s story

Young toddler with playdoughYour support means children and families can receive help for as long as they need it. Thanks to you, there is always a special someone to turn to when things are tough, a skilled, kind listening ear to talk things through, to help build relationships and bring families back together.

Joe kindly agreed to share a bit about how your support made a difference to him and his family.

Joe had never known his Dad and for his very young Mum, trying to cope alone with two small children and the trauma of her own childhood had quickly become too much. Joe and his sister were first taken into foster care when Joe was a toddler, before they were moved to his Gran’s.

At the age of 13 Joe’s short life was turned upside down – again. Following an emergency Joe was split from his Gran and his sister and taken on a heart-wrenching journey across Scotland, to a strange city and a new foster care family he had never met. He was terrified.

“When Joe came to us he was a poor wee lost soul,” says his foster mother, Liz. “He was very quiet, so sad looking and just desperate to be part of a big family. The most constant person in his life had been Sian, the worker from Children 1st. Eight years later – she still is.”

“Sian’s exactly the same today as when I first met her– she’s brilliant.” says Joe. Sian gave Joe the safety, space and support he needed to let out his anger, loss and frustration.

Liz, Joe’s foster mother, remembers, “One time Sian suggested Joe make the face of someone who had hurt him out of plasticine. As soon as he made the face Joe started banging it hard against the wall. He went on and on banging it. It was very upsetting to see what was really going on inside him.”

Today he understands what was happening: “I was worried about my sister and my Gran wouldn’t speak to me. There was a lot of stuff going on in my head. Sian helped me get things out, talk through my thoughts and understand my feelings,” says Joe.

When Joe wouldn’t listen to anyone else, he still took note of Sian. “I trust Sian,” Joe says.

Sian has helped Joe get back in touch with his Gran and sister, regularly driving miles across Scotland, on much happier journeys than that very first one, so that the family can meet.

Today Joe is no longer the frightened lonely child who arrived at his foster carer’s door in despair, nor the young person struggling to make sense of what happened to him during his childhood.

“Without Sian, I wouldn’t be the same person,” Joe says. “Sian’s been there for three-quarters of my life and I know that if I need it, she’ll still be there for me.”

Having one trusting, supportive relationship can help children and adults overcome trauma and adversity and give them the strength they need to thrive.

Your support will give young people like Joe hope for the future.


*To protect the confidentiality of the young person, identifying information has been changed.