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 I have just finished reading Cut about 15 mins ago. When I read your books – I have read quite a few, they are very sad but with happy endings. I wish I knew about looking after children. I have 2 of my own and 1 on the way but my mum has made sure I can’t be a mum as she was a failure as a mother. I think you do a brilliant job looking after other people’s children and giving them a helping hand. I am a bit like Dawn, she chose to forget her past because she was ashamed of what had happened to her. I have done that and I am still unclear about what happened to me as child. I am getting two different sides to my past, the Social Services are telling me I was abused and my mum is telling me I wasn’t abused. I am so confused and don’t know who to believe. In my eyes they are both liars my mum keeps telling me lies about what has happened to me and Social Services, I can’t trust them as far as I can throw them. When I was fighting for my youngest son they said no matter what the outcome of the assessment he would be returned to me with help put in place. But he wasn’t and later he was adopted because they said I was too immature but I wasn’t. I blame myself for what happened but once I lost my baby I went into a severe state of depression and wanted to take my life. I felt like the Social Services were blaming me for my past. I still do. When I was first abused I was 1 yr old. According to social services my mum knew about it. I was in tears reading Cut. You are a very special lady and I feel like I know you through your books. I hope Dawn will get in touch with you soon. Will you please let me know as she holds a very special place in my heart, bless her.
Amy, UK, 08/09/2010
Dear Mrs Glass, I love reading your books. The journey that you take your readers on is amazing. I would love to know just half the experiences that you have had in your fostering career. It must be so hard to let go of the children that you have grown close to and help them in many, many ways. The book that stood out to me most was “Damaged”. You never really know what kind of parents some children can be subjected to. I had to stop reading the book because of the trauma that little girl went through, but after reading on I thought at least she had been taken away from that, and now has a new start in life.
Louise D, UK, 08/09/2010
Hi Cathy, I already read two of ur books Cut and The Saddest Girl in the World. You are really a great woman with so much love and courage to foster. After reading your book I started thinking about those girls and others who can’t get any help who are not lucky enough to have foster carer like you, or anybody to help. Thanks for bringing these stories to us. I love them and going to read ur other books for sure.
Sonam, New Zealand, 07/09/2010
Hi Cathy, I’ve just finished reading your book ‘Hidden’ and it touched me, I was so moved by the help you gave this young lad. I never realised that children suffered that bad in the UK but it has given me a different light on things now. I will do my bit to help a lot more now. I couldn’t begin to think of the emotions and hurt you have to go through some times, hearing these stories from these young children. You are a lovely woman to accept these children into your family home. Your family, children and you deserve a lot of credit. As for Minty in this book I really don’t understand what she was doing. From a mother’s point of view myself I would do anything to get my children back if they were in care. But it’s the impact alcohol and drugs have on people that make them think differently. At least Tayo is in the best place for him now and maybe in time, Minty and Tayo will get back in touch properly, when Minty sorted herself out properly. My next plan is to read Damaged and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your books. Thank you for sharing your life with us Cathy.
Jaime, 22, Redditch, UK, 07/09/2010
Yours book Damaged is the first book I have fully read in over 10 years. It was a book I couldn’t put down. Immediately after finishing it I ordered Hidden and The Girl In The Mirror. You are a true inspiration to everyone – parent and foster carer alike, and to read those words you wrote about your feelings and experiences was just incredible. You are a true inspiration to other foster carers and children less fortunate than most. They are lucky to have such an empowering and courageous lady being part of their lives. Good luck to you and your family and thank you for sharing your amazing experiences with us.
Helen, UK, 07/09/2010
Hey Cathy, I have read nearly all your books, and think you are an incredible author. I enjoy all your books as they are all so very touching. The way you treat the children when they come to your home is wonderful. I just want to say I think you are an amazing person for what you do. It is obviously very rewarding, but emotionally very hard. I’m 16 years old and since reading your books I have decided I would love to foster when I’m much older. It would give me such a good feeling to help children in there need. I hope you and your family are well.
Kaycee, 16, UK, 06/09/2010
Hi Cathy, I picked up your book Damaged from our local market and have never read a book so powerful. I often read books on abuse etc, and none of my family or friends could understand why. The reason I do read them is because I love that children, men and women can go through such a horrible time but can come out on top and show the world that they are strong. I find the people in these stories so brave, amazing and spirited. You truly are an incredible woman and I look forward to reading your other books. Thank you for enlightening us into the world of a foster carer, you are unbelievably special. I thank you for being the person you are and opening your doors to these children.
Brooke N, Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia, 05/09/2010
Hi Cathy, I have just finished reading your book “Damaged” and felt I had to contact you simply to say “wow”. You seem to have patience in abundance. I have a daughter of 7 years old and it made me realise the things I take for granted, and the things that she takes for granted too. You have helped me learn a few mothering techniques in the process, so thank you. Thankfully my daughter is a very happy child and has never had to suffer any of the awful things mentioned in your story. But you have opened my eyes to the problems that our society sweeps under the carpet. Before reading your book I was blissfully ignorant to it, I’m not now. There are few of us that have the chance to make a huge difference to this world and I’m pleased that you have the heart to do it. I wanted you to know that you had made an impact and I’m very glad you did. I wish you and your family well, and I hope that in a few years time you are able to write a success book that follows up on the progress of that brave little girl. I know that she will have the best life that can be expected with a guardian angel like you to watch over her. Thanks
Sarah M, 05/09/2010
Hi Cathy have just read 3 of your books Damaged, Hidden and Cut. They are all so sad and so happy at the same time. I cant wait to read the rest. I am a carer to my great niece as both her parents where on drugs and alcohol, so she has special needs. She is two and very hard work, but your books are a great help. As well as telling the child’s story you provide lots of useful information and tips. I hope you continue to write lots more books, and as I read them I will cry tears of sadness and tears of joy all from the same book
Mary, UK, 05/09/2010
Hi Cathy, thank you for writing about your experiences as a foster parent. I have just finished ‘Cut’ and have got your most recent book sitting here waiting to be read. I have found your books so easy to read and realise that every child that you have fostered must have their own story. My sister has adopted both her children and now one of her children is going through the lengthy process to be able to adopt. Under your latest update (January 2010) for your book ‘Cut’ you said that if Dawn was to contact you again you would email all your readers. Could you please add my name to your readers list as I would love to receive updates? Just to let you know Cathy, I have already pre-ordered your next book ‘Mummy Told Me Not to Tell’ through Book Depository and can’t wait to receive it next month. Regards
Vicky, UK, 05/09/2010
CG: Thanks, Vicky, your name has been added to my mailing list. Cathy x
Hi Cathy, I’m 15 and just finished reading your book ‘Damaged’. I don’t usually read but I got given your book from a friend of my mums and I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it. I’m not an emotional person but the book made me cry. I’m pregnant and it made me feel sick being made to realise that there are people out there that could/would actually do the kind of things to their children. Being pregnant at a young age I’ve worried in the past that once she’s born and gets older, she’s not going to be a happy baby/child because I wont have the money to buy her all the things she wants, but your book taught me that as long as I love her as much as I can then she’ll be a happy child. I think you’re amazing for doing what you did to help that poor little girl even though you said in your book that you felt like you’d failed. I was just wondering if you’re still in contact with Jodie? No worries if you’re too busy to reply but I wish you all the best xx
Sian, 15, UK, 03/09/2010
CG: Dear Sian, I am sure you will be a great mother; it is not what we buy for our children but the love, care and attention we give to them that is important. You may find Happy Kids useful for when you are a mum. It contains lots of practical advice and strategies that work. There are some updates about Jodie on my website. Very best wishes, Cathy.
Dear Cathy, I have just finished reading ‘Damaged’ and just had to email you. This is the first of your writings I have read. I picked it up in W H smith (airport departure lounge) drawn in by the cover. My husband’s response was ‘ we live fostering 24/7, why take it on holiday too? This is respite! Can’t you switch off….please!’ Your book was so consuming, once I begun I was hooked, finishing it in 2 days and reflecting on it for the rest of my holiday. I read many of your emails and realise this was the general effect! For me the content was not shocking, it saddens me to say so but like you, having fostered for many years, I too have become desensitised to stories of horrific abuse and failings in the system. I have been equally dumbfounded by both. I just wanted you to know that reading your book was like listening to someone else ‘in my shoes’, so much of the content mirrored my life and experiences. I foster two children at a time and specialise in disabilities and complex needs. We’ve had under 20 placements as many have stayed long term but all have been challenging and demanding. At present we care for a 15 year old young lady with multiple disabilities who has been with us since she was 4 and a 2 year old boy with complex medical needs. My two birth children, now young adults have grown up with this as the norm. They support what we do even though they often bore the brunt of extreme behaviours and spoilt occasions etc in our quest to integrate children into our family. I took comfort from your ability to express the emotions evoked by our role and the impact and toll it takes on the whole family, all of which I have experienced in abundance. The ‘3 Ex’s’ – Excitement, Exasperation then Exhaustion have been doing the rounds in our home for many a year! Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m sure you have enriched and changed many children’s lives with your approach and dedication, which I’m proud to say also reflects my own. It’s so good to hear that there are other people with this level of commitment, often in the face of adversity. Your ability to put it all into writing will benefit and inspire the general public, professionals, students, parents, carers and victims of abuse in our society and raise awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by everyone within the care system. So in the ‘ all too familiar words’ from one recipient of them to another -‘ Well done, keep up the good work, You are amazing’!! – but with deep sincerity,
Ria, UK, 03/09/2010
Dear Cathy, I have just found your website and wanted to write to tell you what an inspiration I think you are! I have read all your books. The work you do with the children in your care, as well as looking after your own family and writing, I don’t know how you do it. Thank god for people like you and not giving up on children and their families. You really are an amazing woman. I know you probably get loads of emails like this, but I thought I’d express my admiration.
Hi, just to say I have just read ur book on Hidden and I could not put it down. I don’t usually read but a friend gave me this book which is about yourself as a foster carer. Me and my husband have just gone through 4 and a half months of up and downs trying to foster just to be knocked back. I loved this book (Hidden) and have now just got Damaged which I am sure I will enjoy with me having a not so good childhood. You do a brilliant job, and I wished we could have done it too.
Michelle B, UK, 02/09/2010
Dear Cathy, I’ve just finished reading Damaged and I needed to email you. My older sister has been looking into fostering and adoption and her social worker explained to her that reading your books may help her and her husband decide whether they think they could handle looking after a child who had been abused, neglected or had disabilities. After reading them she recommended Damaged to me and I read Damaged in the same day – on a trip to Whitby. I cried the whole way going back up the M1 to home! Knowing that those awful degrading things happened to that poor little girl made me sick to my stomach. I’m only 19 and obviously have no kids of my own yet, but having two small nephews. The thought of them coming in any danger makes me sick to my stomach. I just don’t understand how such sick and twisted human beings can possibly be walking this earth. How could a woman who bore a child for 9 months and gave birth to her, do those awful things? It’s beggars belief. I would just like to say thanks to your touching and moving words, I’m seriously considering fostering and adoption when I’m older and a bit wiser. Your a very wonderful caring woman Cathy, all the best,
Kirsty, 19, UK, 01/09/2010
Hi Cathy, I’ve been a foster carer for 3 years. I would just like to say how much help your books have been to me. All the children I looked after were very different and had different needs. Reading your books gives me some ideas to try and makes me feel I’m not alone. I have just had two sibling groups adopted to two wonderful families and know they will be well looked after and very loved, but it has left big hole in my heart. After reading I Miss Mummy and how it made you feel I realised its not just me that feels that way. Thank you and keep up the good work. I’ll be going to the shop to buy another one of your books. Cheers.
Lorraine, UK, 01/09/2010
Hi Cathy! I love you! I love your books! I came across them when my cousin was tidying up her book shelves. The first book to catch my attention was ‘Damaged’. The front cover drew me in so I read a few pages and I couldn’t put it down. It was like I’d been hypnotized!! Since then I’ve read ‘Happy Kids’ ‘Hidden’ ‘Cut’ ‘The Saddest Girl in the World’ and lots more!! So I’d just like to say a very big THANK YOU to you for writing so many inspiring books. I really can’t wait to grow up because thanks to you I’m sure about fostering! (I’m only 14!!). Love from your biggest fan
Zainab C, 14, UK, 01/09/2010
Hello Cathy, I would just like to say what a fantastic person you are! I am a child minder and I looked after two children that had to go into care (it was heart breaking). I only hope that these children had lovely foster carers like yourself and your family. Keep up the good work Cathy your doing a fantastic job!
Laura, UK, 31/08/2010
Dear Cathy, you are a true inspiration to all the children who are in need of foster carers. I have read ‘I Miss Mummy’ and ‘Damaged’. I Miss Mummy actually brought tears to my eyes and as I was getting to the end I had to stop reading because I was scared of the outcome. I am glad that it was a happy ending. You show amazing courage through your work and your work has touched me, thank you for sharing such a big part of your life, much love to you and your family.
Jemma B, Birmingham, UK, 30/08/2010
Dear Cathy. I have been reading your books for around a year now, and I just wanted to say that they have helped me a lot. I was abused by my best friend’s god-father for five years and it only came out in October 2008. It’s been hard but the support given to me by my family and friends helped me get through it. Reading your books makes me glad to know that there are people like you out there that actually care for children and young people that have been abused. You are a fantastic mother and your children (biological or not) are extremely lucky to have you in their lives. I wanted to say a big thank you for your books. I don’t think I could have made it through some nights without them. Again thank you so much and you are a fantastic person all round. All the best.
Emma H, UK, 30/08/2010
CG: Dear Emma, I am so sorry to hear of the abuse you have suffered. I hope the abuser has been reported to the police and brought to justice. I am pleased to hear that you have been supported by your family and friends, and also that my books have helped you in some small way. Why did it take so long for the abuse to be discovered? Did no one suspect? Very Best Wishes. Cathy.
Emma’s Reply: Dear Cathy, like most people who have been or are being abused it was fear that kept me from telling. He told me as well as the other girls he abused that he worked for the police; that no one would ever believe us, and if we told things would get worse. Thankfully one girl had the greatest of courage and came forward and disclosed to a close friend of her mothers. After that everyone started coming forward. On the Friday it was three (myself included) by the Sunday 62 other girls had also come forward. I’m guessing that no one had suspected, we had all become very good at hiding things and none of us even knew about the other girls, only ever thinking it was just ourselves that had suffered. He has been brought to justice and in 2009 was sentenced to a minimum of five years without parole. There is a chance to might never be released. I believe that my story and those like it show that things can get sorted and that although its hard and it takes time you can overcome what’s happened and begin to move on from the past but I’m not totally there just yet. Thank you so much for replying, I wasn’t sure if you would or not. All the best.
Emma H, UK, 30/08/2010
Hi Cathy, I have just finished reading Hidden, what an amazing journey. I initially sat and read the first 3 chapters whilst waiting for my wife in Waterstones. I was due to go on holiday the following week and I thought a book of 300 plus pages would easily keep me busy for 8 days. I was so hooked that I finished reading it within 3 days. I am a 41 year old man and I know there are some very nasty people in this world, but Cathy this book actually reduced me to tears. I was so engrossed in this book it was like a roller coaster. Tayo would excel himself with his impeccable manners and then behave in a totally unacceptable way, like the occasion when he said the horrible comments to Paula about her acne. I am currently a 3rd year social work student, due to qualify next year. Tayo’s experience has been a real education for my continued development. Your skill in developing your relationship with him, the professionalism of Sandra the social worker are all areas I have picked up on and aim to put into practice. I have been so hooked by reading Hidden that I am soon to start reading Damaged. One thing I must say is that your own children have also played a part in supporting Tayo and no doubt other children you have looked after. Thanks and keep up the good (hard) work.
R Gilbert, UK, 30/08/2010
Dear Cathy, I’m 15 and it’s only been about 6 months since I’ve started reading your books. I’d always been afraid to read books with such a real life pain to it and to be honest I’ve never took interest in books till now. I’m growing up with a great life and parents who love me, and I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to read the painful truth of foster caring. I started with Damaged, it was so shocking and it really upset me. Jodie seemed like she would have loved to be a normal happy girl if it wasn’t for the abuse she had suffered and I really felt for her. It makes me so angry to think of people out there who could hurt their children, especially to the extent Jodie suffered. It also makes me realise how lucky I am, and not to take anything for granted. I think you are the most amazing inspiration. I have read Damaged, I Miss Mummy and Hidden. I’m going to read The Saddest Girl in the World and Cut too. When I am older I definitely want to work with children. My best friend grew up in care her whole life because her mum was an alcoholic. It wasn’t until a year ago her mum had recovered and was well enough to look after her, after 14 years of being in foster care with many different carers. I felt really happy for her, but she was my best friend and her leaving meant she had to move back to London which is an hour away from where I live, I was really upset for months but I know it’s for the best. I am looking into training to either be a primary school teacher, or a social worker. I hope Jodie is doing very well in life as I do all the children you fostered. You truly are an inspiration to all, best wishes to you and your family.
Amie, 15, UK, 29/08/2010
Dear Cathy, I think what you do is amazing! I’m writing to say that your books have helped me realise that no matter how bad things are, worse things can always happen. Your books helped me realise that there is always light during the dark times and they helped me cope in some ways. Reading your books makes me want to foster because although it’s not easy I love the idea of helping someone who has been through similar to me or who has had a hard time. I like the idea of making a difference no matter how small that difference may be. 🙂 I’m writing to say thank-you for what you do and for writing the books you do. You’re an amazing person and an inspiration. Reading your books is brilliant.
Louisa D, 17, UK, 29/08/2010
Hey Cathy! I am a 17 year old student, and at college currently studying to be come a therapist, and hopefully go into counselling and psychotherapy. Your books have inspired me to help people with problems, reading your books have made me aware of the troubled people out there and how they deal with certain emotions. The first book that I have read was Damaged which was truly heart felt, reading that book made you my favourite author. I then went on to read Hidden; The Saddest Girl in the World; then Cut. I am currently on I Miss Mummy. I have bought two books at a time so when I have finished one book I wouldn’t have to wait. I find it fascinating how you do it all, and I have sometimes thought about fostering and it may still be an option for me in time. I admire your patience and how you are a single mother, as you explained in Damaged, and still have an open heart to towards the children you foster. You truly sound like a great mum. reading your books have also helped me to deal with my family problems, as my mum is a single parent and has been since I was born. I know why she as faults. I will continue reading your books they are so hard to put down. If you do read this email and don’t get the chance to reply I wish you the best in the future and maybe in time you will be reading my books 🙂 Lots of love
Danielle R, 17, UK, 29/08/2010
Dear Cathy, I have read The Girl in the Mirror which helped me a great deal to leave my past behind me, so thank you. I have also read I Miss Mummy which I have to say is the most tear pulling of all your books, I think because Alice is so little and so determined to be back with her mummy. I would also like to tell you that I have just got a new job working in 3 different children homes, it is only casual work at the moment but I’m hoping once I have my foot in the door I can do more. I hope you and your family are well and have had a good summer? Keep up the good work and I look forward to you next book. Lots of Love
Fophie, UK, 28/08/2010
Hi Cathy, I just wanted to say you are truly inspirational and have cemented my wish to foster when I am slightly older. To help children such as you have must be a truly rewarding experience. Everything you and your family have had to deal with, and yet through the struggles you still manage to have a positive impact on their lives. Thank you for your truly amazing courage and for sharing your experiences with us. There really needs to be more people like you in the world.
Leigh A, UK, 28/08/2010
Cathy, I have just finished reading ‘Damaged’ and the tears are streaming down my face. The pain and heartache that poor girl went through is so unbelievable. What you did for Jodie was amazing. My sister and I were molested by our next door neighbour when we were younger. Although I have a decent relationship with my parents, who have now separated, I still feel resentment towards them because I feel like they didn’t protect us. When we told our parents what was going on all they did was warn him not to come near us again. They didn’t press charges and he was still living next door for ages as I remember. When we did finally move it was to a place where his sister lived so every now and then we would still see him. My sister is three years older than me and got the worse of the abuse. My sister had some therapy and is now living a normal life. I struggle with nightmares and sleep for only a few hours at a time. My nightmares sometimes take me back to those painful memories. I stop myself from thinking about other little girls he could have done this to. I’ve tried talking to my mother about this and she says that I should let it go because there is nothing I can do about it now. For as long as I can remember I have not been a happy person. I struggle with depression and sleepless nights. He still has power over me. I’m not sure why I have told you all of this but it feels good to be able to tell someone who might just understand.
Nicole, UK, 27/08/2010
CG: Extract from Cathy’s letter to Nicole …I am so sorry to hear you and your sister suffered as children. You have clearly both been very brave and courageous to put the past behind you and move on with your life…. Although your abuser wasn’t reported at the time it is not too late. You and your sister could go to the police now and report him, assuming he is still alive. The chances are he has abused other children, who may or may not have reported him. One of the reasons I write these books is to try and raise awareness and hopefully make adults more vigilant and ready to believe children and report abusers. Take care. Love to you and your sister. You are in my thoughts. Cathy
Hi Cathy, I have been recommending your books to heaps of friends and they are all so impressed; not just with the way you write but the way you treat these children. You are an amazing lady and it’s a pity there aren’t more like you around. Too many parents don’t really care for their kids these days. They are dragged up rather than brought up, and too often they are bringing themselves up. Just my feelings. Thanks for sharing your stories. Cheers
Sue, New Zealand, 25/08/2010
Hi Cathy, I finished reading Damaged just the other day and I thought it was a really good book. I felt so sorry for Jodie and what she went through, no child ever deserves to go through what she did. On a few occasions I had to stop reading for a bit for a break and went back to it later. Overall this book deserves a 10/10, and I’m pleased from reading the updates that she is doing really well. You are a real inspiration to all. Hidden was also a really good book. I finished reading it 2 months ago. It is my favourite second to Cut. It’s surprising how many children are hidden out there, and no one knows that they are there. Look forward to reading I Miss Mummy and I’ll update you on my thoughts about that book. Hope your all well
Nicki, 19, Somerset, UK, 25/08/2010
Hello Cathy, after coming across The Saddest Girl in the World in the bookstore I felt compelled to purchase the book. And, after reading it in two days, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your life, story and family. Thank you for sharing Donna’s story. Thank you for caring for children when others would or could not and seeing the potential in every child. Thank you for valuing children for who are they are beyond their circumstances. Your ability to translate the emotions involved from all parties with humour and tact allows your reader to connect on a personal level with you and your family but also allows them to explore issues related to abuse, neglect, child management and public tolerance. Again, thank you Cathy for inviting me to share your experiences and successes. All the best in the future. Regards,
Dear Cathy, Not long ago I read ‘Damaged’ and have since been itching to read more of your work. You are an inspiration and the children you have look after are lucky to be in your care. You express your love and care for these children extremely well and this is emphasised by the fact you never give up on them! I have also found your work useful as I am currently at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol studying Early Childhood Studies and I also work part-time in a nursery. After reading your books I have become more aware of the signs of abuse and I hope that these will also help me when I go into my dream career of play therapy after studying for my MSc. Keep up the good work and never forget what an amazing woman you are!
Emma, Devon, UK, 22/08/2010
Dearest Cathy, I just finished reading I Miss Mummy and wish to again congratulate you on the way that you write, and your great ability in managing your family’s life and fostered children. The way that you love and take care of them gives me great warmth and I enjoyed reading all your books immensely. You have become my favourite author and I have all your books. Some of them (e.g. Damaged and Cut) I re-read after a few years! Looking forward to reading your next book. Wish you a great day. Regards,
Christine F, Malta, 21/08/2010
Dear Cathy, Thank you for sharing about how badly children in our society can have it. It is important that an adult stand up for those who can not make their voices heard. I could not stop reading, and was genuinely interested but also inspired. You make a huge difference, and I wish more people were like you. Best regards
Anna, Sweden, 21/08/2010
Dear Cathy, I’m 16 and about a year ago I began reading your books. I’d always been afraid to read books with such a real life pain to it. I’m growing up with an amazing life and parents who love me, and I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to read the painful truth of foster caring. Despite this I started with Damaged, it honestly killed me. I wept while reading it. Jodie seemed like she would have thrived to be a bright girl if it wasn’t for the abuse she suffered. It makes me so angry to think of people out there who could hurt there children, especially to the extent Jodie witnessed. Me and Jodie are around the same age now, and what scares me is when I was 7/8 around the time you fostered Jodie, I was living a normal healthy happy childhood. I really hope she is on the path to a successful adulthood. I think you are the most amazing inspiration, and you should never think of yourself as not doing anything to help her, because you built up the strength in all these kids. I have read Damaged three times. I have also read, I Miss Mummy, Hidden, The Saddest Girl in the World, and Cut. When I am older I am looking into training to be a primary school teacher. It scares me that I will see at least one like Dawn, Alice, Tayo, Jodie, or Donna. I hope Jodie is doing very well in life as I do all the children you fostered. You truly are my inspiration
Katie, 16, 20/08/2010
I recently found a copy of The Saddest Girl in the World at a book sale, and after reading it I am hooked. I have been out and got the rest of your books which I am working my way through. They really are an eye opener as to the cruelty that goes on in this world. Well done for making the public realise what goes on right under their noses. Hopefully it will make more people sit up and take notice and then do something about it. I work at an infant school (ages 4-7) and I will be leaving my read copies of your books in the staff room for the others in the hope that they will read them, and that it will make them more aware of any signs of abuse. Please keep up the good work, I look forward to any future books. All the best
Diane, Surrey, UK, 19/08/2010
Dear Cathy, in one of my local pubs they have a charity book shelf, and every now and again me and my friend take a look what’s been added. One night I picked up a copy of Cut. I started it as soon as I got home and couldn’t put it down. After reading Cut my friend dug out her copy of Damaged and now I’m waiting on my sister-in-law to finish The Saddest Girl in the World so I can read it. I just wanted to say how much of an extraordinary woman I think you are to do what you have done for the children in your care. I believe from just reading your books you can feel how much love you have for the child in your care and your family.
Afternoon Cathy, I’m 33 year old man. I’ve read every book you have written. You’re an inspiration to parents. Regards
Kristian, UK, 19/08/2010
Hi Cathy, I’ve just finished reading Hidden, oh and did it make me cry, but I was so happy that Tayo returned home. I never put the book down and had read it with in 24hrs. I’ve also read The Saddest Girl In The World. I think you are amazing. I’ve still got 2 more books to read which are Damaged and Cut and then I’ll be back on line to buy some more. Keep up the good work. Love to your family
Debbi, UK, 19/08/2010
Dear Cathy glass I love your books. They make me laugh cry and feel happy all at the same time. I love how you write your books, it makes me feel like I am actually there in the story, and love that at the end of each book you get such a happy ending. How many books have you written so far? I have got 7. Sincerely
Stacey S, 18/08/2010
CG: Thanks, Stacey, yes, seven books so far with the next one out in October. Cathy
Hi Cathy. I am from Sweden. I just read your book about Jodie, Damaged. I started yesterday and finished it today. It’s so unbelievable how this can happen. My mum is doing almost the same work as you but in a duty home (don’t know how to say it in English). She takes care of the children before you do, when the social workers can’t find any foster family for the moment. I admire the work you do and your children are amazing! I know growing up in this type of family, that it’s not easy, but your children should have a medal for being so patient. Something that makes me angry is that some of the social workers are exactly the same here in Sweden as Jodie’s (Eileen). When she should have some one that is fighting for her rights. I hope you get to see Jodie again and I’m looking forward to read about it and the rest of the work that you do! You are amazing! Keep up with the great work!
Caroline, Sweden, 18/08/2010
Dear Cathy, I hope this message finds you and your family well and enjoying the holiday season? Well after a week of being approved and at least 5 calls regarding different children that never came to anything I finally met my first placement. N is 14 and came to me with a history of aggressive behaviour. Her family have been known to social services for many years. Mum and Dad want nothing to do with her. To be truthful I am finding N to be like a big loveable puppy dog, very keen to please and frightened in case she does anything to upset me. I did see a bit of her anger yesterday and it was aimed towards my 7 year old grandson (who by the way isn’t the most pleasant of kids at times), but as I have learnt by reading your books I sat N down and explained that this kind of behaviour wasn’t acceptable in my home. I asked her to sit and think about it and 10 minutes later she came down stairs and apologised to both myself and my grandson. He also apologised to N. I know its only early days but I do hope that they let N stay with me as I feel that she wants more out of life than what she has been use to. From my side of things I feel that I can hopefully steer her in the right direction. I really enjoyed ‘I Miss Mummy’ and look forward to your next book. Keep them coming.
Angela, UK, 18/08/2010
Hello, I emailed you at the beginning of this year as myself and my partner were going through the fostering assessment. My stepson has been through quite a bit when he was living with his mum and he now lives here with his dad. Well we did it! We have been approved for babies 0-2 short term placements. We have a little one at the moment straight from hospital who was suffering withdrawal, she’s 4 weeks old now and doing really well. Just wanted to say thank you for your kind words and advice, once I start getting a full nights sleep again I will definitely be reading more of your books!
Hello Cathy, I’ve just finished reading Damaged. I’ve laughed at some of the things Jodie said but was moved and so angry also, I had to put book down. Well done. Starting to read Hidden now.
Jacqueline Q, 17/08/2010
Hello Cathy, I am 15 years old and I have started to read you books this year I have only read two so far well I am in the middle of ‘I Miss Mummy’. I find them really good as you find out what young children go through. My Nan is also a foster carer and has been for 10 years. She’s had a lot of children with problems and they have always seemed to be able to speak to me about them. I love your books. I’m like you, I like to care for people. I have learning problems with reading, writing and spelling but I’ve found your books easy to understand. It takes me a while to read them but I’m half way through ‘ I Miss Mummy’. Alice the little girl sounds so clever at her age and your son and daughters sound like they understand. My Nan doesn’t have much time for me so I never normally go to see her but when I do the children always just come and speak to me. Also when my Nan gets new kids and they have problems they always talk to me because I can get through to them. I am one of your top fans.
Georgina, 15, UK, 17/08/2010
Hi Cathy, I’ve read two of your books so far, and both of them made me think of my own life. I’ve never been in foster care, or even in a foster family, but I had my nephew living with my family and me for over 8 years. His mother left him with us when he was just a few weeks old. He was a happy baby, but things took a sudden and scary change as he got older. He was very angry and he’d have very quick mood changes, sometimes for no reason. He would threaten to kill us and would curse and do whatever he could to try to hurt us. We all knew something was seriously wrong with him and that he needed help, but for years we tried to get someone to believe us, but very few people would listen to us. We finally got through to DHS, and the long road to helping him started. It took over a year to find a place that had the skills to handle him. He ended up being sent to a mental hospital for a few months, then was transferred to a place that he stayed at while we found a home for him. It was not our first choice to just send him away to be “fixed”. But there was no longer anything we could do to help him. We found a home called the “Safe House”. He moved in, and it seemed like he wasn’t even going to miss us. But the doctors told us that he had troubles making connections with people, even if he loves them, he can’t show it. He lived there for about 6 months, and they said he was doing very well. But we knew that that short amount of time didn’t help him as much as he needed. They sent him home, and his dangerous behavior started again. It got to the point where we did not feel safe in our own home. He ended up being taken into foster care for ours and his safety. I admit I had some hard feelings for him, but his issues were not his fault. There was something going on inside of him making him the way he is. He lives just a few towns away from me and my mom (his grandma). But we miss him every moment that he’s gone. I’m sure I left a few details out, but I wanted you to know that my situation reminded me of your book DAMAGED. I cried throughout the whole book, because it reminded me so much of my situation. And I’m sort of happy that I know someone else knows what my family has been going through for about ten years. Thank you for listening.
Mariah, UK, 17/08/2010
Dear Cathy, I think your books are amazing. I have read I Miss Mummy and The Saddest Girl in the World. I have your other books too which I’m looking forward to starting. I’m 29 and I have 5 children who are all currently in foster care due to problems with my ex husband which were domestic violence related which involved myself plus the children. He has a caution and an injunction to stay away from us. I’m currently receiving counselling and I have a psychological assessment next week (which I’m nervous about). I have an advocacy worker who works with the police and I’m currently on the housing list for a new home. I’ve been told my children will not be returned to me till after Christmas, they have been in care since January and I miss them dearly. I appear in court next month and I have also met with the children’s guardian who is really nice. I’m hoping this assessment will be positive for the court as I wish to have my children returned as they wish this too. The problem I have also is my children are split up, the two boys are together and the three girls are together, but they are miles apart. It has been really hard on them as they only see each other once every two weeks at my mum’s house where we have unsupervised contact for the day. I only see my children weekly for one hour, which clearly is not enough. Your books have been helping me to understand what my children could be going through. My oldest is almost 10 and he is very confused and has started to bite himself because he is so frustrated being away from his family. My other 4 children I feel are suffering too, they are aged 7, 6, 5 and 4. When I see them they ask to come home. It is very very hard for us all. I’m doing all I can to keep things positive and I’m doing the right things to have them returned to me. I have such a wonderful bond with all my children and I worry it might be damaged in some way as they have been apart from me all this time. I also start a parenting course next month. I’m doing a child care course and I’m going on the freedom programme too. I would love to hear from you as I am thinking of maybe writing a book on my life and I’d like to help other women of domestic violence too as there is not really enough support out there for them or their children. If you have any advice for me I’d be grateful. Once again, I love your books, I get glued to them. I look forward to hearing from you if you have the time. Kind Regards
Marie A, UK, 17/08/2010
CG: Extract from the email I sent to Marie: Dear Marie, thank you for sharing your experiences with me. I feel for you, I really do. You are doing all the right things for a positive way forward and I am sure your children will be returned to you. Unfortunately families with more than 3 siblings often have to be split because there are very few foster carers who have a house big enough to take all of the children. Re contact, one hour a week is clearly not enough. Have you raised this with the Guardian and your solicitor? They should be pushing to have it increased when they are next in court. Please keep in touch and let me know how things progress. I think writing your story will help you come to terms with everything that has happened and may also help others. You may also find Happy Kids useful. Very best wishes, Cathy
Dear Cathy, I have read most of your books and I can say they are truly an inspiration for people like me who realise there are some lovely people in the world…YOU. My parents haven’t been good and I get to thinking that if everyone had a Cathy in their life, it would be sunshine all the way. I also lost me partner in a RTA nearly 6 years ago and if people only realise how precious time and care were, they would change in an instant. Thank you for people like you. I have kept a diary since I was 9 years old and it is my innermost thoughts and my feelings over the last 30 years. They are painful writings but need to get them out. Thank you for your time and for keeping me glad I’m still alive to read your books. I wish I knew you
Helen, Spain, 16/08/2010
Hello Cathy I am a 23 year old male and I read Damaged in one go last night and your book really moved me. I do not believe in god but I prayed for Jodie in the hope that there is something out there and she will be happy. I want to say that you and your family are true heroes for looking after her and not giving up on her. I wanted to say that you must be incredibly strong, for reading what Jodie said was terrible, but hearing it must have been horrific. I wish you your family and Jodie all the best, yours sincerely
Craig, 23, 16/08/2010
Dear Cathy, I have bought three of your books so far (The Saddest Girl in the World, Damaged, and Cut) and read them all in three days. Your work is amazing, what you do for the kids who need love, and also how you give inspiration to other people. In your book – Damaged – you mentioned that for a moment you considered that you would stop fostering. I got so relieved when I finally learned you reconsidered!! When I was 18 I wrote a book myself about abandoned little girl from children’s’ home who finally finds family – I don’t know what made me write it since I come from a loving family and had a happy childhood, but I have always felt with abandoned children ever since I can remember and I still do. When I was small I decided that one day I would have my own house for abandoned children. I still keep that plan, but I always knew it would need financial sponsors and I had no idea how to do it. But you inspired me to start fostering one day. I am 34 and I am not married nor have my children yet, but one day when I (hopefully) have my family, I will get into fostering. Your books were a big help for me in this regard. So again, big thanks for your work. Sincerely,
Veronika, Prague, Czech Republic, 14/08/2010
Hi Cathy, just finished I Miss Mummy this morning. I only bought it last night. My house looks like a bomb site and I’m still not dressed and its 2pm!!! Just wanted to say that you are an amazing person and parent. I was fostered from 14 years old and I can safely say that my foster parents gave me a wonderful and happy life, compared to what I would have had. I was a daughter to them and there was nothing they wouldn’t have done for me!! A bit like yourself. I’m sure they struggled with my behaviour, as when I discovered I was fostered, I rebelled a bit! My birth mother was a drunk but she only had it in for me. I got beaten up, locked in a cellar without food for days. No one even believed me when I had a black eye. My mum was sneaky and told them I was throwing things in the house and she had to stop me with force. It was then my mummy sold me to a porn factory. It was horrible, if you didn’t do it right or understood, you would get beaten until you did know. I didn’t understand a lot of it. I was only 5-8 ish. I am still scared of police. I’m just glad I found people to help me and look after me. I was like the family dog and it was the worst years between 5-14. IT DOES HAPPEN.
Good Morning Cathy, yesterday at 22.00 I asked my daughter she had some book that I could read. She gave me your book Damaged. I’ve finished it today at 07.30. I’ve read it all night, couldn’t leave it. It was the first time in my life I cried when I was reading. If you talk to Jodie, please let her now that there are people outside in the world that thinking about her and hope that she’s getting better Hope that you can go on with your fantastic work for these poor children. My best
Leif, Sweden, 14/08/2010
Hi Cathy, I finished reading your book ‘The Saddest Girl in the World’ and I found it very emotional but amazing! It’s shocking what parents nowadays do to little kids. Your book made me realize many things in life and how I should be very grateful with what I have and the fact that my family does love me, unlike other innocent children out there. I’d like to thank you for that. The book also made me cry at the end when you were leaving Marlene’s house, saying goodbye to Donna. I’m glad Donna is now living happily and got out of all the pain her mum put her through. I feel extremely sorry for Chelsea because of the baby issues she had. And Rita oh my, I hope one day she realizes what the things she did wrong were and what pain she put her children through at such young ages. It was terrible what Warren and Jason were made to do to Donna as well, I felt really bad for her. I’m planning on reading another of your books. I feel so sorry for children like this that live with cruel, heartless people. You seem like a very polite, helpful, thoughtful and loving mother and foster carer. It’s clearly a very hard job and you are actually so good at it 🙂 Adrian and Paula must be very lucky to have a mum like you and Paula seems such a sweetie, so kind. I loved your book, write more!
Berivan, UK, 13/08/2010
Dearest Cathy, it’s been less than 2 weeks since my last comment and I have devoured another 2 books. You really are an inspiration to us all. Since your last reply I have made some progress with my enquiries, thanks to your help. I am now enlisted to help at the local youth club, and am waiting for a volunteers pack from the women’s refuge along with sure start. Also I contacted my local university to see about enrolling to become a social worker, as there clearly is a lack for Good social workers out there. In addition to this I am looking into becoming a family care worker so I can help hands on with families. I would like to thank you as it was your books that encouraged me to do something to help these children. I hope other people are also inspired as I have been. Thank you so much Cathy. I am about to order your remaining books, and am sure these will be just as amazing to read. I will keep you posted with my volunteer work and also feed back on the books. Hope all the family are well and that you continue to publish your amazing books.
Frances, UK, 13/08/2010
Hello, I just read Damaged and I truly admire you. I’m only 16 so I have no idea about bringing up children but I think the way you looked after Jodie was admirable. I was so touched by the book, I have literally just finished it and thought I might Google it to see if there was anything more about her and I’m so so so happy about her having a foster family and going on holiday. In your book you wrote you felt she was leaving without any real progress, but actually I really think you and your children changed so much in her life. The way she trusted you and opened up to you was incredible. If she had never come to you perhaps she never would have spoken out and would have spent her life living a life of anger and frustration and complete unhappiness. I am honestly so inspired by you. I’m at the point in my life where I have to make career decisions and I’ve always been passionate about becoming a social worker. I was horrified at the way the social services let Jodie down and how they seem to do that far too often…I have had experience of social workers and to be honest I found them disappointing. As a child, I remember when they visited they never seemed to have any commitment but came with a piece of paper and asked horrible, insensitive questions, with no thought of how I felt when they left me in the house. I know that not all social workers lack competence, but it’s too much of a risk to even have one who can’t do their job, because each child is as important as the next. Your book has really encouraged me to be a part of the social services. I’m honestly speechless. You have inspired me personally. I really hope and pray I can do something as good as you. My biggest prayers are with you and your children and the children you have and continue to foster. I have no doubt that God is with you completely and sometimes, I find, that is the biggest comfort. Thank you,
Gemma, 16, UK, 12/08/2010