Digital copy of Witness 31's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of their experiences during the time that they were in foster care between July 1977 and August 1990, and experiences with Children’s Services in relation to the care of their own children. [Some details redacted].

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July 16th 2014 - July 16th 2014

Scope and Content

Background and Home Life Gives details of background and early years at home with their mother and father. Describes mother’s young age and lifestyle, and father’s time in prison as reasons given for their grandmother consequently becoming their foster carer. Recollections of grandmother contracting tuberculosis, and being sent to Brig-y-Don whilst their grandparents went on holiday. Institutions Includes references to their time at Brig-y-Don, foster care, and hostels such as Avalon. Lived at Brig-y-Don for a short period. Gives details of visits by foster carers, referencing trips to the beach and spending the evening at their house [Exhibit 2: C/D/AW1/A1/3/WD000016/2]. Formally fostered by these foster carers at the age of 3. Fond recollections of foster father, recalling him as the foster parent who assumed and carried out most of the responsibilities of care. Describes strained relationship with foster mother, giving details of foster mother’s alcoholism. Also includes descriptions of their foster brother, referencing his birth in Guernsey and adoption by their foster parents. Gives details of spending alternate weekends with maternal and paternal grandparents whilst in foster care. Left foster care aged 16 to live with friends, their biological father, grandmother. Also includes details of living at hostels including Avalon. Children’s Services Includes references to Children’s Services and their interaction with their biological family and foster family. Gives details of involvement of Children’s Services in placing them under the care of their grandparents and subsequent move into foster care aged 3. Refers to the Case History from their Children's Services client file which sets out a history of their time in care from November 1975 to March 1994 [Exhibit 1: C/D/AW1/A1/3/WD000016/1] Recollections of being allocated a number of different social workers but has no specific memories of any individuals. Recalls that visits by social workers were infrequent and never one-on-one, one consequence being that they felt unable to report being unhappy in foster care. Also expresses concern that social workers did not identify foster mother’s alcoholism. Describes later years in foster care, citing the death of their cousin as trigger for them wanting to leave their foster family aged 16. Recollections of Brenda Chappell helping them with the transition from foster care to living with their biological father, and subsequent spells of living with friends, grandmother and hostels including Avalon. Describes having their first child at the age of 19 whilst living with their father and grandmother. Describes lack of interaction with Children’s Services surrounding discharge from care on their 20th birthday in March 1994. Abuse and Consequences Descriptions of emotional abuse by foster mother, including: regular verbal criticism of, and hurtful comments about, their biological mother, psychological torment during night-time routine, and being forced to attend church. Also describes foster mother’s favouritism towards their foster brother. Gives details of an incident of inappropriate sexual behaviour by foster mother when buying a bra for the first time. States that foster mother was never physically abusive. Descriptions of how emotional abuse by foster mother and being taken away from their family during childhood have had a significant emotional impact on their life since leaving care. Cites experiences during childhood and foster care as the reason for developing compulsive hoarding behaviour. Events since leaving Care Describes moving into own place with their daughter at the age of 21. Give details of the development of their compulsive hoarding behaviour, and subsequently being reported to Children’s Services following concerns raised about home conditions. No action taken by Children’s Services. Recollections of intermittent interaction with Children’s Services until birth of son in 2002 when someone again reported about the condition of their home. Describes visit by a Children’s Officer, during which they refuted reports of neglect of their children. Understanding that this incident was not formally recorded by Children’s Services. Gives details of incident in 2003 whereby they unknowingly left their children in the care of a vulnerable individual whilst they went on holiday to America. Describes subsequent involvement of Children’s Services and reports made regarding care of their children. Case discharged, but arrangements made with respect to attending parenting courses. Cites deterioration of home conditions, worsening compulsive hoarding, depression and bereavements as factors contributing to a gradual increase in involvement of Children’s Services. Recollections of their child being taken into foster care for a two-month period until home conditions improved and compulsive hoarding tackled. Give details of child being placed onto child protection register due to neglect and emotional abuse. Describes their son as having been in foster care for one month at the time of providing the witness statement. Positive assessment of interactions with Children’s Officer Jane Isaacs and experience with Children’s Services in general with respect to the care of their children. The statement finishes with the Witness’s reflection on their experiences with Children’s Services, both in foster care as a child and as the parent of children placed into foster care. Refers to impact of time in care on their ability to parent their own child [Exhibit 3: C/D/AW1/A1/3/WD000016/3], whilst noting improvements made with respect to Children’s Services since leaving care. Includes recommendations such as the introduction of unannounced visits, and the importance of Children’s Officers building trust and relationships with children. Exhibit 1: see C/D/AW1/A1/3/WD000016/1 Exhibit 2: see C/D/AW1/A1/3/WD000016/2 Exhibit 3: see C/D/AW1/A1/3/WD000016/3


Chappell, Brenda
Isaacs, Jane
Avalon Hostel
Brig-y-Don Children's Home
Children's Services
States of Jersey
States of Jersey Police


Guernsey | United States of America | abuse | addictions | adoption | alcoholism | child abuse | child protection | childcare | Children | children's homes | Children's Officers | children's services | Churches | drunkeness | emotional abuse | foster homes | foster parents | fostering | Hostels | inquiries | investigations | neglect | parenting | Police | Prison | sexual abuse | social services | social workers | witness statements | witnesses


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