Shelley - Care leaver case study

By the age 12, Shelley had already grown to have an adult head on her shoulders. At 6, she had already encountered social services; at 8, she started bringing up her two younger sisters (aged 6 and 7); and by 12, she wasn't going to school. Shelley never experienced stability or a loving and secure home.

When she turned 16, she met Sally through Action for Children and the stability that Sally provided changed her life. Now 18, Shelley is on the path to living independently and enjoying her college course. 

In her own words, Shelley said: “Sally was my escape – I could talk to her about anything. There was a moment just after my sixteenth birthday when I went through depression. I didn’t want or have the motivation to do anything to celebrate but Sally asked me to come home to relax and recoup. When I got there, she has arranged a small birthday dinner for me, which in hindsight I think I really needed. It made me feel loved and cared for. At the time it was really important for me to know and feel part of the family".

During one of my first Christmases, Sally’s family came to visit and her daughter had done a canvas picture of the family, which I was included in. I broke down and cried because I thought…I have finally found happiness.

“This happiness led me to expressing myself in creative ways, like drawing. Sally spotted something in me and encouraged me to continue to draw whenever I could.  I love drawing and am now in college doing an art and design course – if it wasn’t for Sally I’d be doing a course that I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed.

“I feel that everything that has happened to me has happened for a reason – I wouldn’t have met Sally and my life wouldn’t be better. 

She’s my guardian angel and I wouldn’t know what to do without her.

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