All entries are from emails sent to Cathy, however she cannot be held liable for the validity of the claims made, some of which are very disturbing. Cathy reads and replies to as many emails as she can.
To add your comments, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Cathy, As soon as I saw your book ‘Damaged’ on the book shelf I had to read it. I have worked with children for the past 6 years as a primary school teacher and have a little toddler myself, so children are my life. I was deeply moved and brought to tears on several occasions whilst reading Jodie’s story. I felt physically sick as you gradually described the sheer hell that Jodie had been through – I just can’t understand how ‘so called human beings’ can treat such innocent children with such disrespect. The final part of your book brought a smile to my face knowing that Jodie was finally settled and starting a new journey in her life. You are such a strong and dedicated person and I am so relieved you haven’t given up – the world of fostering would miss a truly remarkable woman. Wishing you all the luck. I can’t wait for the next book.
Nici, North Wales
Dear Cathy, I just completed your book “Damaged” which obviously brought tears to my eyes. To think that so many cases of abuse are going on and it just does not come as top priority in the world we live in today. I am so glad that people like you are doing all you can to enlighten the public about the many things that are going on and how vigilant we need to be. May God bless you and strengthen you as you continue to bring hope to a hurting and abused generation. Love,
Hi Cathy, I am a nurse and have read your book ‘Damaged’. I found it was so addictive and only took my 2 days to read, i could not put it down. I have passed it on to my colleagues who in turn have passed it on to their friends, so your book is well travelled. The things that poor Jodie endured is totally unbelievable in this day and age and Social Services…. well!!!!!!!!!! All we can say is what a book……the story is so sad but the way you and your family handled everything and coped whilst still giving and showing your love is just mind blowing. I can honestly say the book had myself and my colleagues in tears, but thank god for you and your family The story is moving and remarkable and shows great courage and commitment by both you and your family. We really do hope that she finds a home with you and your family who can show her what unconditional love is really about.
Cathy, I’m writing this email in tears after just reading your book damaged, you are one remarkable woman and so are your children. I wish Jodie all the best for the future and hope she have a happy home like she had with you there ain’t a medal big enough to give you. God bless you and your family ill look forward to reading your next book take care.
Emma, South Wales
Good Evening Cathy, I just had to write you this short email after recently reading your book, Damaged. You are truly an amazing person, to have fostered and cared for so many children. I have been deeply affected by Jodie’s story, I literally cried myself to sleep when I had finished reading it. How any parents can treat their child like that I do not know, they deserve to be hanged for ruining Jodie’s life. I also want to mention your three children, they too are truly remarkable and I believe you all helped Jodie to start to rebuild her shattered life. I was pleased to read, on your website, that Jodie has settled and is continuing to make progress in High Oaks. Kind Regards
Cathy, I just bought your book and finished it within 2 days. It made me cry and unlike you , I felt so much anger towards social work for not stopping this earlier especially Eileen , how she slept at night I don’t know. I think you are a wonderful person (one of god’s angels) also so are your own children as they put up with a lot as well. I hope Jodie is content now as much as she can be and I wish you and your family all the best. God bless P.S. This just made me realise that when I give my ten yr old daughter into trouble for not making her bed or not putting her DVD off when I say that my Husband and I are so lucky to have her.. Keep up the writing.
Hello Cathy, I have just read your book and I am still upset more than an hour after putting it down. I love my children so much that I just cannot comprehend how any parent could destroy their own child like that. What they did to Jodie should be treated as worse than murder, as she will never live the life she deserved. I have been a foster carer for nearly 4 years but have never cared for a child even close to being as “damaged” as Jodie – I am not sure I would even have had the courage, as you did, to take her on in the first place. Your perseverance, love and dedication are an inspiration and an example to all of what a foster carer should be – in fact you went above and beyond this and became a true and loving parent to Jodie. You speak of a sense of failure at the end but I know you did not fail this child in any way – it was her parents who failed her so horrendously. If Jodie ever is able to live anything approximating a normal life, it will be down to you. You started her on a path to recovery she may otherwise never have found – the letter she left you, written by your daughter, is a testament to that. God bless you, your family and all the children who have benefited from your care
dear Cathy, I purchased damaged the other night and only put it down this morning once it was finished. You are a very amazing lady. I am 21 and have recently been diagnosed with DID, unfortunately for me the social services failed me, and as a result i spent 16 years being abused in one way or another. DID is not a recognised condition in the UK and it took me seeking private specialists to get a proper diagnosis. Not only does Damaged tell of strength and courage but it also gives an insight into the consequences of prolonged hurt. I am often labelled a “freak” for the way i am. Perhaps if everyone read this book they’d understand other people better and not be so quick to judge. DID pushes saints to their limits and unfortunately it’s left me very very few friends and a resentment and embarrassment from my family. I’m finally getting the help i need to control my condition. I thank you for bringing this book into my life. I wish you and Jodie all the best
Hi Cathy, I’m a 15yr old girl and when I got to the end of the book i just literally burst into tears. I was so sad and hard to believe that that is actually a true story….As you said in the last couple of lines in your book that she would never taste the pleasure a normal child would… I live in Saudi Arabia, but every year i travel to England as I’m British. So next summer when I go back I’ll be looking for your book “Hidden” I think you are an excellent writer and am definitely looking forward in reading your other book.
Ruqayyah, 15, Saudi Arabia
Dear Cathy, Hello i am an inside person and we have just read your book. What i mean by an inside person is that i am one of many that live inside the head of another person. It is called D.I.D. We each have our own personalities and each and every one of us feels very real, like you are. We are like Jodie but no one found or helped us. We all hold different memories and pain because it is too much for one person to cope with. People failed us and it makes me happy to know sometimes some one like us does get found and has the help and care we should. We were hurt by our parents as Jodie was, but also in even worse ways. We saw things and went through things that even a horror film would not think of but we survived it by being stubborn and creating DID. We get lots of memories and problems but we beat them by getting on with our life and living each day. I am glad you helped Jodie and did not run when other voices came to talk to you because we are very real and that would be sad to be rejected again. Thank you for being who you are. We send you rainbow hugs. Love
Dear Cathy, I have just finished reading “Damaged” and was moved to tears. You and your family are amazing. It disgusts me that in our so called “sophisticated” society we are still littered with stories such as Jodie’s! I am unfortunate enough to have witnessed the inadequacies of our “system” although not on the level that you have. As a worker within the Local Authority I have witnessed the low level of involvement from Social Services. On visiting families in their homes I have witnessed how some people force their children to live and this of course is “managed” for my visit, so Lord alone knows what goes on when I constantly feel the frustration of this system and have been to meetings similar to the ones that you have attended. Whilst I appreciate the difficulties faced by Social Services, we are all failing the very people we should be protecting and this distresses me on a daily basis. Our “system” needs a major overhaul no-one is there to watch. And maybe if we did not allow people to use children as a way to get housing and income then maybe, just maybe we would be able to save some of them from this kind of abuse. My best wishes to you and your wonderful children for your continued patience and care. If only all adults were as compassionate as you.
Hi, I just wanted to say what a fantastic person you really are as well as your own children. I think you have done a great job with Jodie. I never read books normally but this stood out to me i could not put it down. It is so nice to see there is some real good people out there i really hope Jodie will be ok she seams like she is starting on the road to recovery give her my best and you take care. i look forward to reading your next book.
This book really made me cry, I am in foster care. I went from home to home because i was very troubled over the abuse that happened to me. I am Irish and in the end to keep me safe and my last chance was to move me to England last year. I have foster parents just like you, also there for me and try their hardest with me, i began to feel safe and realized that i was loved, i believe that Jodie also felt that but she is safe hands now. You did your best. I went to loads of children’s unit and was abused in there too. I got very upset when they said Jodie was moving anyway from you but i believe she is in a wonderful place. My foster mum works in places like Jodie is in. My heart goes out to everyone in the situation. Thank you very much for sharing yours, your family and Jodie’s story
Have just finished reading Damaged and i would like to thank you for caring about children the way you do. I am a Care Worker and worked for 8 years with children trying to keep them in their own home safely. Your family also have hearts of gold for not being jealous and bitter of the timefoster children take from them, Good luck to you all and I hope Jodie is O.K. She deserves the best care and I think she got it in you and your family.
Dearest Cathy, I saw your book in the shop and knew straight away that i had to read it, Jodie was very lucky to have a foster carer like you. There are not many people that would take on a child with so many problems, i feel you did you best for her and deep down she knows that to. I was very unlucky that i had abusive foster carers and only wished that i had somebody like you to bring me and my sister up. I reported them and they are no long allowed to foster. Well you should be proud for everything you did for Jodie you couldn’t have done anymore. I wish you all the best to you and your children and all your future children, don’t give up something you are so good at, there are so many children that need somebody like you.
CG: Dear Debbie, I was horrified to learn that you were mistreated by your foster parents. Foster carers are placed in a position of supreme trust and responsibility and to abuse that position is absolutely unforgivable. Thank goodness you had the courage to report them. Don’t worry – I won’t give up fostering. Sometimes I have doubts, but fostering is a huge part of my life (and that of my family’s), and I love it! Take care, and thanks again. Cathy x
Cathy I have just read your book and felt moved by the story. You are a remarkable woman and thank god you are a part of Jodie’s life. I hope she makes sufficient recovery to join you in the near future. All my love
Dear Cathy, I have just finished reading your book and I want to thank you for it. I was a social worker for over 13 years and I must admit that at time I was very angry with Jodie’s social worker and her managers. As in every aspects of life there are good workers and bad workers. But let us not forget that the medical and educational profession also failed Jodie by not picking up what had happened to this beautiful young girl. The ending of your book made me cry, especially as a very good friend and neighbour of mine died on Saturday morning. She leaves behind an amazing husband and two wonderful children aged 4 and 2. She loved her children so much and did so much for them, while others like Jodie’s parents, only destroy there children for life. Sadly I know from experience that Jodie is not the only one to have suffered. Many thanks for your care and love towards Jodie and all the children you have cared for and I look forward to reading your next two books. Regards,
Cathy, I like so many others managed to read your book in just 2 sittings. We adopted a little boy 2 years ago and the fact that he is such a well adjusted and loving little boy is down to his fantastic foster family. I know that I do not have the skills or patience to be a foster carer, it takes a really special sort of person to take a child with minor or major problems for what may only be a finite period in time and feel that you can make a difference. You managed to convey such a horrendous story so well that it will touch everyone who reads it. I don’t think I have ever been so affected by a book. Your story rang so true, for every member of Social Services in your book I have met at least one of them to some degree. Why does it seem to be the person who appears to care the least is the child’s Social Worker and they are the person who should offer continuity and caring. My little boy is now 5 and is getting to an age where he is beginning to ask questions about his past. While my Social Worker has been fantastic, my son’s was off the scene as soon as the legal adoption was processed, and we are still waiting for his Life Story which is so important to help him understand his background. Your patience and ability to not “loose” it with “Eileen” and her seemingly shoddy application to her job and responsibilities is to be greatly admired. Keep up the fantastic work. Your writing style is totally mesmerising!
As an ex nursery nurse teacher your book amazed me. Your patience was amazing and the fantastic way you deal with your day to day life. I am a single mother of three teenage children, and life can be hard enough with out the added stress of what you have to deal with. I look forward to your next book. I have had to give up work due to ill health and read a lot at the moment. I must admit your book was the best read in a long time thank you again. x
Hi Cathy, just finished the book. i am so in touch with your emotions i can’t stop wiping tears from my face. If only i had a fantastic woman as yourself to care for me as a child. I was dragged up by my cold and vicious mother, and father who abused me in the bathroom when the mother was at bingo. i lived in a silent world, not knowing how to express my emotions. I wish to thank you for your truly amazing strength, and heart felt feelings you gave towards all the children you fostered. Your own children are the most fantastic siblings any child could ever wish for. i wish you all the best.
Hi, I only finished reading ‘Damaged’ yesterday and was so deeply moved by it. I’m 13 and don’t usually read biographies. But i just thought I’d say u are truly an amazing person, and i hope the best for u and Jodie. I hope i get a chance to read ur other books. x
Dear Cathy, My Husband grabbed your book from my pile of ‘to reads’ whilst on holiday, he couldn’t put it down and described it as compulsive reading. I have never seen him read a book so quickly. As soon as he finished it, I read it, and also couldn’t put it down. I found the story so moving and was in tears several times. We both agree that you are a remarkable person in the fostering work you do and I am glad that you decided to carry on with the work. The world needs more ‘special’ people like yourself. God bless you and your family Cathy.
Hi, Just wanted to tell you how amazing your book is. I know everyone’s said this but it really moved me. I’m 19 and went on holiday 2 weeks ago and decided to take a book with me. The only book i’ve read is ‘The Twits’ by Roald Dahl when i was about 8. So i thought one book would last me till i got home 10 days later. I couldn’t put your book down it was so moving and always had the edge of not knowing what was coming next. I know that there are terrible things that happen to young children but never knew it was that bad. I’m so happy there are good people out there like you how will do all they can to help rebuild a childhood. And i’m so glad you decided to carry on fostering. Thank you for giving everyone an insight into how bad things can get, and hopefully things will get better. I hope the girl gets better. I can’t stop thinking about your book, i’ve told all my friends and family. I gave it to my mum for her to read and she cried. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing. I think you are a great writer and look forward to your next book.
Hi Cathy, Your book has been difficult for me to put down too, but for a different reason to most people in your blog. I have three children whom I adopted when they were very young. It was clear from the very beginning that they had horrendous problems – many of them similar to the ones you describe for Jodie, and for the same reason. Again we were not told the whole story before they came. I will get family members and friends to read your book because they still find it so difficult to appreciate the difficulties for both the children and us. One of our biggest problems has been getting the right support from social services, schools and other agencies. Finally last year, virtually the last straw we were given a new social worker who has been working with us instead of all the innuendos that we were doing things wrong. We have also found a psychiatrist and social worker/ therapist who understand Attachment Disorder (which I diagnosed through intensive research on the internet). We are finally seen light at the end of the tunnel as the children enter adulthood. It cannot be a coincident that Damaged has been released just as we feel strong enough to challenge the views of those around us – your book will be so often referenced!! Thank you. With sincere best wishes and gratitude
Having worked with disaffected children within the Education Service for 27 years, I found your book an inspiration. It was so good to hear a foster carer’s point of view, and I know now that I could never do your job. Believe me, I have thought of it many times over the years! My husband has been a Child Protection Social Worker for 18 years now, and he has always tried to do his best to save these children, but as you know, the system does not always work well enough to help all children, and that has been his deepest regret, and is one that he lives with everyday. I do hope that Social Workers who read your book will take note of the comments about Eileen the Social Worker. God help my husband if he ever treated his clients like that. That is why he continues in this type of work, as it is his way of helping to restore children to a normal lifestyle, and hopefully happiness in their future lives. Thank you Cathy for your ability to be able to foster. Please accept our heartfelt thanks for this book and others. Let’s hope they become essential reading on Social Work courses. Sincerely,
Hi Cathy, I can’t wait for November to read your new book!!. I cried many a time when reading about poor Jodie and what she went through. You are an inspiration to all carers in Britain and actually all over. I will be buying Hidden as soon as it hits the shelves!!!!!!! Keep up the hard work.
Wow Wow Wow. It has been a very long time since i read a book that inspiring. I just did not want to put it down. Cathy you are such a wonderful person with so much strength and love. i wish you all the best and cannot wait for hidden to be available.
Cathy, I picked your book up this morning while making a cup of coffee, (I work nights). It took me three hours to read, most of the time with tears streaming down my face. My wife (who is a social worker, but a good one) occasionally has to unload some of her pain, so I’ve grown used to bracing myself when listening to some of the more harrowing details. As a father I hate paedophiles because they have condemned their victims to a lifetime sentence. It makes me ashamed to be a man sometimes. And although I’m a liberal forgiving person their crimes place them outside of society. Children are our future and they destroy them. Although I feel so sad reading about Jodie I thank you for your courage in writing such a stunning book. You deserve every accolade you receive for your storytelling skills. Thank you for sharing your tears, fears and frustrations. peace and love
Dear Cathy, i am a 20 year old single mum and finding time to read is very hard, but i finished your book damaged in just two days. im glad you wrote this book as it might open people’s eyes to the world that we are living. your story was amazing. i was in tears the whole way through it. im glad you and your children still visit Jodie it shows that you could never give up on some one. you truly are amazing. can’t wait for your next book. take care. Regards to you, your family and most importantly Jodie.
You have restored my faith in humanity, your family must be so proud of you, as you must be of them. As a single mother of 3 young daughters it is hard to accept that such evil can still be allowed to destroy young innocent lives and the system that is put in place to protect them is riddled with so many errors and poor finances that it is a god send Jodie found someone like you. I am so pleased that you are still fostering as you truly are a special person, I was very upset reading your book and I hope that you, your children and Jodie can become a family unit in the future. God Bless You x
Hi, I have just finished reading ‘Damaged’, and have complete admiration and respect for you. I can relate to the story for various reasons, my child was in care at a young age, and I was abused as a child, but in no way close to the vile and degrading and utter disgusting manner Jodie was. I hope her family rot in hell. I read it with chills running through me as each new fact unfolded, then stopped and thought you had to experience it first hand with every new revelation she made. Fortunately my story had a successful ending and my child came home to me. I had a breakdown due to factors in my childhood, thankfully I got a second chance and grabbed it with both hands. Total respect to you and others like you. I am so glad to read you are still fostering kids. Good luck
Hi Cathy, myself and my partner have been trying for a baby for 8 years now, we have been thinking about fostering and your book has been very enlightening to say the least! I know it’s far from easy but your excellent portrayal has sealed the deal for me and my partner and i hope we can help children as much as you have, lots of love xx
Dear Cathy, Your book is amazing. I was abused as a young child about the same age as what Jodie was when you took her in. It was by a family member, and happened on more than a handful of occasions. It took me until i was 12 to tell anyone. Reading your book brought back a lot of memories for me, but didn’t stop me enjoying it. I really hope Jodie learns. like i have, that everything that happened to her was never her fault, just the faults of some very sick individuals, unfortunately we had to suffer to make them fulfil there horrible needs. I am 21 now and i still have flashbacks but it’s made me a stronger person in some senses. I have trouble forming relationships with the opposite sex but hopefully things will improve with time. It’s something you never forget, and can never understand Why?? Many thanks again for the book. I felt like Jodie in some places from what happened to her. Take care of yourself, and Tell Jodie to keep her chin up.
Oh Cathy what an inspiration you are. I have just finished reading your book, after many tears that have fallen, I have now passed my book on to one of the mums at my daughter’s school to read. I’ve told her that she may not be able to put the book down. You are a wonderful person. It must be so rewarding to make such a big difference to these children’s lives, but in the same breath very heartbreaking. Congratulations to you. Xxx.
hi Cathy i have just finished reading your book, i was really touched by it and on several occasions i ended up in floods of tears. i admire your strength and courage on taking on a child with so many problems. i am glad there are people out there like you who don’t give up and give children like Jodie a chance of a normal family life, away from the abuse they have suffered, i think that this story and others should be told to make people realise that this goes on more than any of us will ever know. thank you for sharing your experiences with us and i look forward to reading your next book hidden. keep up the good work.
Cathy, I have just read your book ‘Damaged‘ Another reader that couldn’t put your book down. I cried several times while reading what happened to Jodie. It was such a moving story. I can’t believe that things like this really are happening to poor children. There really are some evil people out there. I have one child of my own, and the thought of anything like that happening to him makes me hurt and feel sick inside. Your book has really opened my eyes to foster carers like yourself. You have made a huge achievement are you really are one in a million. It makes me so sad to know that Jodie is obviously not the only child out there that has been hurt in this way. Look after your family and yourself and please keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your next book in November and again next year.
Dear Cathy, What an amazing woman you are. I too, read your book “Damaged” within two days and told friends and family all about it. Having just been told that myself and my husband are not able to have children this has opened up a whole new world to us at a very difficult but appropriate time. You have let me have an insight into how difficult it could be but also how rewarding and how needed. Without foster carers where would these children be? I just wanted to say you achieved the most important thing which was to gain Jodie’s trust. Who knows how her life would be, but i am sure it would be lesser than what she is living now. You are a remarkable inspiring woman and your children sound as though they too are remarkable. Thank you Cathy for telling yours and Jodie’s story, I will certainly be looking out for the next one when it comes out.
Dear Cathy, I echo all of the comments made in your Blog, and so many!! Your book is brilliantly written. As a foster carer, and adoptive parents of a sibling group of three sexually abused children, it was just so “good” to read your book. My husband and I were never fully appraised of the ordeal our three had been through and as they have never disclosed very much to us, I doubt that we will know the full extent of the abuse. We were given a report about three years after they moved in, and it made awful reading. I really wish I had had your book to hand, for the behaviour displayed by Jodie is just as our three were in the early days, but to a much lesser extent. I think this book should be handed to all potential foster carers when they first contact social services expressing an interest in being carers or adopters. I know it would have helped us greatly, and we wouldn’t have made as many mistakes as we did. Suffice to say, excellent book, so well written and brilliantly told. Thank you.
Cathy, I have just finished reading your book damaged and was truly touched by Jodie’s story. I too was sexually abused for a number of years by a family member. I was so pleased to read that Jodie’s parents (if you could call them that!) have been punished as this may help Jodie. I understand some of the emotions Jodie felt as i am still feeling them. The hardest part was when the person who had abused me got away with it when it went to court. I still get very panicky when I leave my house and have flashbacks. It has been 5 years since the abuse stopped but has only been a year since the court case finished. I have had counselling but this has not helped in any way. Reading Jodie’s story has helped me have a small belief that what happened wasn’t my fault, however to believe this is still very hard for me. I would like to thank you for helping all the children you have fostered over the years and the many others that will come to you, as unfortunately there are still many other children who will need the love and care from someone like yourself. You’re a truly wonderful person and what you and your family have done for Jodie is truly amazing. I hope Jodie is finding the happiness that she truly deserves. All my wishes to you and your family, especially Jodie. x
CG: Dear Lou, ….You are very brave to have confronted the abuse…and I know how you must be feeling, now that a prosecution hasn’t been secured; sadly it happens all too often. There is one thing of which I am 100% certain, and you must be too. It was never, in any way your fault. Never, ever, is the victim in any way to blame, although you might have felt it, particularly if the abuse went on for a long time. Please believe me on this…My thoughts and best wishes for the future are with you….Cathy