Looked After Child – LAC

It’s spelled LAC (with a c)

not LACK (with a ck)

It doesn’t matter how it’s spelled

It still sounds the same

It’s placement like dis-placement

It’s not called home

You’re not allowed in the lounge

Your rooms not your own

It is where you live

It’s not a place you belong

The words and terminology

Are all so wrong

Its a medical she has to have

Every blasted year

And when she says she doesn’t want it

You neglect to hear

It’s about being treated differently

And standing out

At school She sees the lac co-ordinator

Her peers have no doubt

It’s about being labelled

It’s about being shamed

It’s about missing school for meetings

Not being the same

It’s about ‘having contact’

It’s not called family time

being in the system

Feels like a crime

It’s missing your mum

It’s missing your dad

It’s hearing about them

In a way that makes you feel sad

It’s missing your sister

Not seeing your brother

Being moved from one school

Then sent to another

It’s being labelled the problem

When it was never your fault

But the grown ups don’t believe you

You’re being judged by default

It’s being ‘looked after’

in return for money

It’s not being loved

Like you were in your family

You are a case

on the social workers book

A piece of work, an assessment

That they just undertook

They forget you’re a person

They forget that you feel

They expect you to accept

This raw end of the deal

But being a child

And being in care

Is something you can grow from

It’s a weight you can bear

It means you have to be stronger

And better than them

Challenge and mould them

Teach them not to condem

Let them know that their jargon

Needs to be changed

For words that are respectful

Language must be exchanged

For words that are positive

And leave no doubt

That being looked after isn’t lacking

We need a shout out

Cos we’ve been there n done it

were still standing, no denying

Were proud of our strength

That we just keep on trying

We try and we smile,

where others fail

We remember our stories

They’re not yours to retell

We work hard and will succeed

If given half a chance

Just think it could be you instead of me

If it weren’t for happenstance.

(C) Louise O’Connell 2019

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