DamagedSuggested by Brad Nelson • Although Jodie is only eight years old, she is violent, aggressive, and has already been through numerous foster families. Her last hope is Cathy Glass. Jodie’s behaviour has seen off five carers in four months but Cathy decides to take her on to protect her from being placed in an institution.
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7 Responses to Damaged

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Read it and weep. I did.

    It’s impossible to review of a book like this and not pontificate. Those who stump for liberalization of drugs and sex ought to realize that ethics, particularly sexual ethics, aren’t there to spoil your fun but to eliminate cases such as Jodie’s.

    Interestingly, the author says early in the book that she considers herself a liberal. It’s ironic to see her, and other caregivers, adopt the role of setting boundaries and administering caregiving in place of that which should have been given before. One hopes such caregivers eventually connect the dots, that sexual ethics on the front end (a conservative issue) would eliminate a lot of the after-the-fact work these liberal social workers have to do to repair the lack of those ethics on the front end.

    But the author is honest about what a mess social services is. Whether in England or America, it seems to be the same story. Millions are spent and yet this one girl’s peril is ignored for years despite mountains of evidence and signs that something was very wrong.

    So Cathy Glass, an experienced and successful foster parent, takes on this tough case that no one else has been able to handle. She’s been through four or five caregivers (carers), some lasting as little as three days. She’s that difficult to hand.

    You see the evil implanted into this child by the evil of those who abused her. One of Cathy’s children comments that Jodie resembles the “Chucky” character in one of those famous horror films. Despite that, you’ll be amazed at the tolerance of Cathy’s children, some of them (I forget how many) were foster children themselves saved by Cathy. You’ll also be wondering at the ethics of Cathy subjecting her family to this little eight-year-old monster.

    How does this all end? You’ll have to read this. It’s a difficult read at times, but it is written very well and appears to be written very honestly. Books such as this must be read, for there are real implications to social and political theories. Ethics matter. Courage matters. And had one or two people found courage earlier, things might have been better for Jodie.

    I’m one of those conservatives who says that it’s a crying shame that we have to scrimp to find money to give treatment to the Jodies of the world while we waste billions on people who otherwise could get a job. But social spending is always problematic because of the human factor. The author is frank about some of the shortcomings she came across in England’s social services…and I’ve gotten the same types of stories from my brother who entered the foster care market a year ago. How could a “well meaning” purpose get so screwed up? I’m not sure, but they are extremely screwed up.

    As are some people, to the detriment of a little girl, in this case.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Your comments here remind me of a few episodes of the 1960s Dragnet that dealt with drugs, including their baleful effects. I recall one that ended with a druggie’s final message (perhaps a suicide message) reading, “To whom it may concern” — and nothing else. And of course, these were based on actual cases (though not always as closely as they claimed, according to the book Rope about the murderer Harvey Glatman).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The story isn’t about politics or social theory. But you can’t read a book such as this and not have the heightened sense of just how political and social theory impacts lives. It really does matter that sex should remain “between one man and one woman, preferably both married to each other.”

        Are we ever going to obtain that goal? Of course not. But it is the children who tend to suffer for our misconduct. And in this case, the suffering is horrible to read about. But it is real.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Those who stump for liberalization of drugs and sex ought to realize that ethics, particularly sexual ethics, aren’t there to spoil your fun but to eliminate cases such as Jodie’s.

      You give such people too much credit. They are intentionally, or through stupidity, doing their best to harm others and destroy our civilization.

      Perhaps our sexual morals have come about over the centuries because people figured out that a single woman having children out of wedlock has few advantages and lots of disadvantages. And because bastard children generally do not have the same family support and structure that those born within the bounds of wedlock do.

      As regards today’s common situation where the families have children from different mothers and fathers living under the same roof, well there are old stories about wicked stepmothers for a reason.

      And while there are not so many stories about wicked stepfathers, you can bet that there is a much larger occurrence of child abuse by stepfathers than by biological fathers.

      But a Libertarian would no doubt say incest is the family’s business.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        As I recall, C. S. Lewis introduced That Hideous Strength by noting that it was a fairy tale as much as one of Grimm’s — in fact, they actually knew of wicked stepmothers, whereas he had never encountered an organization like NICE.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Reading a book such as this, Mr. Kung, makes me think, “All you people who are trying to normalize sodomy have a screw loose. There’s no way that kids should be taught that sexual perversion — in whatever form — is desirable and just another ‘lifestyle choice’.”

        But entire generations have been brought up on the idea that sex is no big deal, that it’s completely wholesome and natural. They reject the idea that sex, like a loaded gun, has to be treated with great care and respect.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    By all means, purchase this book. It’s only $5.00 for the Kindle and it’s a real page-turner. If it bothers you gaining entertainment from another person’s problems (and it should), it’s likely that profits from this book help the author, Cathy Glass. But this book really is a solid educational prospect. It’s by no means a deep look at dysfunctional social services (or dysfunctional families), but it gives you a drive-by view from the perspective of a caregiver. And you certainly get a birds-eye view of what it’s like to be a foster parent.

    I thought the author’s story was honest. She doesn’t present herself as an angel. We can only wonder if her care for her foster children drove away her husband, but she gives no details regarding her divorce. Taking care of these troubled kids has to be very stressful and time-consuming. Amazingly, her children (some of them her foster kids…I didn’t remember if any of them were adopted or just permanently staying with her) perhaps are the real angels in this story. Time after time they go the extra mile even after being kicked and otherwise abused by little eight-year-old Jodie.

    Cathy Glass is certainly above-average, if not yet an angel. And although she describes herself as politically liberal, her instincts and techniques with children are not libtard. Speaking of her fostering of Lucy, who is now a permanent member of her family:

    I was proud of her, and she was testament to my belief that love, kindness, attention and firm boundaries are the basis of what any child needs to flourish.

    She also seems to be a better intuitive psychologist than most of the people in the social services system in England, although you don’t get much detail in that regard. But there is theory and then there is what works in the field. And Cathy was on the front end of what works.

    And this is why this extremely difficult case of Jodie was brought to her. And you may get the impression that I did that social services and the entire bureaucracy is like a Chinese fire drill — with lots of meetings. They all but sucker Cathy into taking Jodie, probably playing on her caregiver instincts (though none of this is really spelled out), because they can’t think of what else to do with Jodie.

    But Jodie is such a tough case there’s no way she should have been placed in a single-parent family where the woman was already taking care of three kids. She is so far gone — and no fault at all should be placed upon Cathy — that clearly intensive psychological help is needed immediately. One can’t blame Cathy for wanting to take a chance, for if she didn’t take Jodie, it was basically a guaranteed dim future for the child. But I see it as institutional incompetence that this obviously troublesome case wasn’t treated specially and resources found that needed to be found.

    There are certainly heroes and villains in this book, sometimes where you least expect them. And sometimes they change sides. It’s interesting that it appears that Cathy is not a particularly religious person. But one point, at rope’s end, she said she started praying for the first time in 30 years. And as one of her children quipped, Jodie needed an Exorcist not a therapist.

    You can see how evil has deeply touch, intruded upon, and changed little Jodie. Once it becomes clear in her story what happened, you have more sympathy for her. But before then, you just don’t know what you’re dealing with and it’s more than a little scary.

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