A former Te Wānanga social work degree tauira is on a lone crusade to highlight the dangers facing children in foster care.
Daryl Brougham is adding the finishing touches to his book Through the Eyes of a Foster Child that will be launched in Auckland on December 2.
The book chronicles his experiences as a ward of the state who suffered horrific sexual, physical and psychological abuse from the time he was left for dead on the side of the road with urine burns and severe eczema as a three-month-old baby.
With his parents unable to care for him upon his release from hospital some months later, he was then placed with the first of 79 different foster families that he would stay with until he turned 18.
He was subjected to a catalogue of abuse from many of his caregivers, who were not approved to look after children by social agencies, and torn from the families who actually nurtured and cared for him.
After receiving an official apology from Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle earlier this year for the years of cruelty he suffered and a $70,000 settlement, he offered his experience and services to Child, Youth and Family.
Daryl says the partnership didn’t last long, however, and the two parted company after less than two months.
He says this was due to a disagreement CYF had with him about his to be released book and a recent interview he had with Native Affairs on Māori Television.
“I left on principle. My dream had always been to work with CYF, but at the end of the day I think I can achieve more outside of CYF.”
Daryl, whose ambition was to become a better social worker than the 30 who oversaw his case when he was in foster care, said he advocated for the wellbeing of the child.
He said caregiving families and social workers need to better recognise the needs of the children they were tasked with looking after.
“I not only talk about my experiences in care but I also talk about the impacts to the child while in foster care like trust, belongingness and identity.
“My goal is for the child to be understood. I hope the book will be seen as an education tool and not people thinking just hey this is my life.”
He is in talks with a non-government organisation that provides community health services and speaking to social organisations.
To pre-order a copy of the book please email; firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.darylbrougham.com
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