Recommended second chance
Growing Up In Care
Fatima Whitbread leads this moving documentary where she travels into her past growing up in care, and confronts personal issues that have affected her throughout her life.
Is this the first time you’ve revisited your childhood on screen?
Yeah, it really is. The first documentary they did on me was back in the early Eighties. Now, at this age, I want to tell my story to help other families.
Is your dad still with us?
My dad and mum split after 32 years, but we’re still a very close family and they’re happy and settled in their lives. It’s not a dysfunctional family as they work together and have stayed friendly, and respect one another.
Why do you think your mother was worried about you retracing your past?
She was concerned that it might take me over the top, but I explained to her that so much has happened in my lifetime and that I’m much stronger now. If anything, it would help to bring closure on different issues and get the message across of how important it is to help these young people that need the love and security of a good family.
When visiting your old home where you’re biological mum lived, did you feel you’d laid some ghosts to rest?
Yes, that was important for me. My son Ryan is 14 going on 20! He’s coming up to his GCSEs next year. He’s very sporty and academic, so he’s doing well. From a young age I knew that if I ever had children I’d give to them what I didn’t have, and support them in every way possible.
Did you ever consider fostering someone yourself?
I haven’t discounted that in later life.
What was going through your mind when you looked at the photos of the children in the children's home?
It was quite touching because when you look back and remember, obviously the overwhelming feeling was of emotional turmoil. But when you see so many children — it wasn’t just me in that children’s home, there were 25 others.
Have you kept in touch with any of them?
One or two, but not on a daily basis. Some of them have done very well for themselves but for others, history has unfortunately repeated itself. There is this statistic out there that says children that have been brought up in care are more likely to end up in prison or to re-offend in some way, than they are to get a job.
Channel 5 Wednesday
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