My name is Esmé, my son is Cameron, my husband Mike (step-father - British) and daughter Ashleigh (19) we live in the UK. I will give you the background:
We are South African and moved to the UK 18 months ago, we bought a village PO/shop. Cameron was an absolute pleasure to be around, good looks and charm, everybody loved him. Cameron started hanging around kids much older that himself – kids that live on an estate that had no discipline and boundaries so he started testing us e.g. Not wanting to have supper with us at night as a family, doesn’t come home after school but rather hung around the arcades in town, always moody and always looking for a fight so that he can storm off. We immediately started working with the school – let me put it this way, we were more at his school that he was, we were more at the police station than at home. We were knocking on all the doors we could for somebody to help us. Social Services, YOTS (Youth offending team) SAS (Drugs team), CAMS (physiatrist), police, Town Councilors and even our Member of Parliament came to see us at home.
Cameron was then arrested for possession of cannabis; he was so abusive to me that I didn’t recognize this child that was mine. Cameron started destroying the house and hitting holes in the walls, we advised by our local police officer that we should press charges to enable the law to take some action, this we did. Cameron was once again found with cannabis in his possession and had to attend juvenile court. Cameron started staying out more and more often and each time we would report him missing and wonder the streets looking for him. In the beginning it was a day, then 2 and eventually Cameron went ‘underground’ in this estate (nobody there would work with the police). Cameron did not attend school at all. At the time of the court appearance Cameron did not show up and we waited and waited. A Second hearing was called two weeks later. In the mean time Cameron lived with a boy the same age as himself (14), his mother and sister of 13. They all took drugs, the mother would give the children money to buy cannabis to leave her alone, she would smoke Cannabis with all 3 children, she ate base like yoghurt and any other drug she could get). Cameron started dealing drugs and got involved with a gang from Liverpool. To cut a long story short Cameron came home on the 24th of July and said he had enough of that kind of life – we overjoyed but very scared, we didn’t know how to handle him, we were very careful about what to say to him and listened, listen, listen while he told me the most hair raising stories, we said we would take life one step at a time – we want this family to be as it was. Cameron however went straight back to the Bourneville (estate) every day to be with his “friends”, I did say to him that maybe it would be a good idea if he stayed away from the Bourneville just to get better – he had lost so much weight – but he is still going there everyday.
Unfortunately Cameron became a brilliant liar and when he walks out of the door he is somebody different. Cameron has come home drunk, another day with cannabis, he would call a taxi to take him to the Bourneville, we certainly have not given him money for taxi’s, we have not given him money for months. We are having to report Cameron missing again and again. Last night at 11.30 p.m. the police picked Cameron up from a house in the Bourneville as high as a kite, when the Police and Cameron walked into our house I told Cameron that he was grounded for 3 days as I had warned him previously, the consequence of not coming home at the designated time.
Cameron had a very important panel meeting on Tuesday this week that was requirement for him to attend as part of his Court Order, he didn’t make it. Yesterday Cameron had yet again a meeting with a drugs worker, again this is a requirement of the court, he didn’t go and his excuse was that he didn’t feel like going. This morning before we could speak to Cameron he sneaked off again and yet again we have reported him as missing to the Police.
We are at our whit’s end, we have tried everything that the UK agencies have suggested and overall we have made no progress at all. The legal system in the UK is stacked in the child’s favour, they have all the rights and the parents and Police have none. With Cameron’s friends having been through the legal system they are advising Cameron what is not important to attend and if a meeting is important but there are little or no consequences if he fails to appear then he chooses not to go and usually smokes Cannabis.
Boundaries such as times to be home by, grounding, not to bring drugs into the home, not to steal from our store etc. etc. mean nothing to Cameron and he totally ignores them.
Cameron will have to return to Education in September but as he missed so much school time this year so far Cameron will have to attend a special program to catch up, again this he will not agree with as this consequence of missing school is to him unfair.