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  • Writer's pictureBen Westwood

The News in Poetry - 10/08/2021 - Children's home prejudice

Here's a piece about a subject really close to my heart, a long-standing national phenomenon of residents not wanting children's homes 'in their back yard. Well here's what I've got to say about all of that.

The news in poetry 10/08/2021

Children’s home prejudice

I just can’t believe that I’m hearing this again, such prejudice and fear,

I guess it makes sense to me now why I’ve heard that some of us are still lucky to be here,

For not all of you out there, are yet fully aware, of some of the prejudices and challenges that are put upon children in care.

Now let’s put aside the assumptions that too many people make,

Naughty kids, delinquents, troublesome or a born mistake,

Cuz we were no more trouble than half of the other kids from our estates, It’s just that we stood out more you see.

But the same old story that I keep hearing, yet again and again and again, Is that when there are plans for a children’s home, some residents will start to complain,

“Not in our back yard” they say, “not in our community” I must say it don’t feel too deep to me, if that’s your sense of unity.

A lack of understanding, something in the way somewhere, No blacks, No dogs, No Irish, and no children in care.

The latest is in Birmingham, the same old ways you see, They’ll launch a new petition, and they’ll write to their MP, Kids labelled quick as criminals, as if unwanted pests,

It’s sad to never know a person, but before you have detest.

And please don’t think that I’m here, just picking bones to shout,

Because this happens time and time again, and the kids could do without,

Being told that their no good for nothing, not welcome in your town, With adults treating kids like this, it’s them that lets us down.

And yet the kids will take it, as if you all declare, No blacks, no dogs, no Irish, and no children in care.

And don’t open up to these kids with welcome arms, no, Just push them away and leave them to go astray, someone somewhere someday will give these kids a chance, hopefully they’ll be fine,

Just sorry, no, not us, you’ll have to go elsewhere as we just don’t have the time,

To worry about our own prejudices or face up to our own assumptions.

Well, what I say is, is that it’s a long hard road to fight this discrimination which really does truly exist, Because I do believe that the story is such, is that professionals like social workers and therapists can only do so much, and like you they need community,

And, you see, if this is how our own most vulnerable children are being treated in this country,

Then perhaps we should choose to do the mature thing in this situation, and accept that as a nation we should be more welcoming to these kids, and ask ourselves that in the grand scheme of all of our troubles is it really that much of a frustration, to have these young people in your world?

Or are you going to tell them, to find some heart to go elsewhere? No blacks, no dogs, no Irish, and no children in care.

And still I haven’t mentioned the shortage of foster families yet,

With no-where else to go where do these kids end up, on the streets or in County Lines I bet,

And then when the crime does happen in your community, you’ll be begging to know what went wrong,

But will you be one that will learn and accept, that you were a part of this song.

But listen, can you hear it? It’s not all over yet, There’s still time to change the rhythm, instead of just regret,

There’s still time for something beautiful, of which we should be proud, The blacks, the dogs, the Irish and kids in care are all allowed.

Copyright Ben Westwood 2021

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