Damaged

( 379 )

Overview

The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller. Although Jodie is only eight years old, she is violent, aggressive, and has already been through numerous foster families. Her last hope is Cathy Glass…

Cathy, an experienced foster carer, is pressured into taking Jodie as a new placement. Jodie's challenging behaviour has seen off five carers in four months but Cathy decides to take her on to protect her from being placed in an institution.

Jodie...

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Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Forgotten Child

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Overview

The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller. Although Jodie is only eight years old, she is violent, aggressive, and has already been through numerous foster families. Her last hope is Cathy Glass…

Cathy, an experienced foster carer, is pressured into taking Jodie as a new placement. Jodie's challenging behaviour has seen off five carers in four months but Cathy decides to take her on to protect her from being placed in an institution.

Jodie arrives, and her first act is to soil herself, and then wipe it on her face, grinning wickedly. Jodie meets Cathy's teenage children, and greets them with a sharp kick to the shins. That night, Cathy finds Jodie covered in blood, having cut her own wrist, and smeared the blood over her face.

As Jodie begins to trust Cathy her behaviour improves. Over time, with childish honesty, she reveals details of her abuse at the hands of her parents and others. It becomes clear that Jodie's parents were involved in a sickening paedophile ring, with neighbours and Social Services not seeing what should have been obvious signs.

It’s clear that Josie needs psychiatric therapy, but instead Social Services take Jodie away from her, and place her in a residential unit. Although the paedophile ring is investigated and brought to justice, Jodie’s future is still up in the air. Cathy promises that she will stand by her no matter what – her love for the abandoned Jodie is unbreakable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Cannot fail to move those who read it.' Adoption-net

‘Heartbreaking.' The Mirror

'A true tale of hope. ****.' OK!

‘Foster carers rarely get the praise they deserve, but Cathy Glass’s book should change all that.****’ First Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007236367
  • Publisher: HarperCollins UK
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 130,976
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Cathy has been a foster carer for over 25 years, during which time she has looked after more than 100 children, of all ages and backgrounds. She has three teenage children of her own; one of whom was adopted after a long-term foster placement. The name Cathy Glass is a pseudonym.

Cathy has written 14 books, including bestselling memoirs Cut, Hidden and Mummy Told Me Not To Tell.

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Read an Excerpt

Damaged


By Cathy Glas

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2007 Cathy Glas
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-00-723636-7


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Emotional Blackmail


The phone rang. It was Jill, my link worker from the fostering agency.

'Cathy, it's not two carers, but five,' she said. 'Five, since coming into care four months ago.'

'Good heavens.' I was astonished. 'And she's only eight? That must have taken some doing. What's she been up to?'

'I'm not sure yet. But Social Services want a pre-placement meeting, to be certain she doesn't have another move. Are you still interested?'

'I don't know enough not to be. When?'

'Tomorrow at ten.'

'All right, see you there. What's her name?'

'Jodie. Thanks, Cathy. If you can't do it, no one can.'

I warmed to the flattery; it was nice to be appreciated after all this time. Jill and I had been working together now for four years and had established a good relationship. As a link worker for Homefinders Fostering Agency, Jill was the bridge between the foster carers and social workers dealing with a particular case. She coordinated the needs of the Social Services with the foster carers, and provided support and help as it was needed. An inexperienced foster carer often needed a lot of back-up and explanations of the system from their link worker. As Jill and I had been working together for some time, and I was an experienced foster carer, we were used to each other and got on well. If Jill thought I was up to the task, then I was sure she meant it.

But a pre-placement meeting? It had to be bad. Usually the children just arrived, with a brief introduction if they'd come from another carer, or with only the clothes they stood in if they'd come from home. I'd had plenty of experience of both, but none at all of a pre-placement meeting.

Usually there was a meeting between everyone involved in the case as soon as the child had been placed in foster care, but I'd never been to one held beforehand.

It was my first inkling of how unusual this case was. The following morning, we went about our normal, quiet routine of everyone getting up and dressed and having breakfast, and then the children made their way off to school. I had two children of my own, Adrian who was seventeen, and Paula, the youngest at thirteen. Lucy, who had joined the family as a foster placement two years ago, was fifteen and now a permanent member of our family, just like a daughter to me and a sister to Adrian and Paula. She was a success story: she had come to me hurt and angry and had, over time, learned to trust again, and eventually settled down to a normal existence where she had only the usual teenage angst to fret about, instead of the turmoil she had known as a child. I was proud of her, and she was testament to my belief that love, kindness, attention and firm boundaries are the basis of what any child needs to flourish.

As I saw the children off to school that morning, I felt a twinge of apprehension. The child I was going to learn about today would most certainly need all those things in abundance, and if I took her on I would have to be prepared to say goodbye to my relatively peaceful, steady routine for a while, until she learned to trust me and settled down, just as Lucy had. But that was the point of fostering – it wasn't easy by any means, but the rewards were so enormous. Besides, I had fostered almost continuously for over twenty years now and wasn't sure I could really remember what life before it had been like.

Once the children had left, I went upstairs and quickly changed from my joggers into a pair of smart navy trousers and a jumper, and headed for the Social Services offices. I'd been going there for years now, and the journey there was as familiar as the one to my own house.

I also knew the drab grey décor, fluorescent lighting and air of busy activity and only-just-contained chaos very well indeed.

'Cathy, hello.'

As I entered the reception area, Jill came forward to meet me. She'd been waiting for my arrival, and walked up to me with a welcoming smile.

'Hi, Jill. How are you?'

'Oh, fine, thanks. You're looking well.'

'Yes – life is good at the moment. The children are doing well, completely wrapped up in their lives and in their schools. Time for another challenge, I suppose.' I smiled at her.

'We'd better get along to this meeting. I think they're ready for us.' Jill led me along the corridor to the meeting room. As we entered the room, it was obvious at once that this was a big case: there were already about a dozen people sitting round the enormous oblong mahogany table. What did it mean? From what Jill had told me, I could tell that this was not a run-of-the-mill fostering situation – not many children get through five carers in four months – but then, no child was ever run-of-the-mill. They were always unique and their troubles distinctly their own. Removing a child from its parents was never going to be a humdrum, everyday event; it was always traumatic, emotional and difficult.

Nevertheless, something told me that this was far more complex than anything I'd yet encountered. I felt another stab of apprehension, like I had when Jill first told me about the case the day before, but I was also interested. What could this child be like, to warrant so much involvement from so many people?

Jill and I took the two vacant chairs at the far end, and I felt every eye was on me, assessing my suitability. The chairman was Dave Mumby, the Social Services team leader, and he began the round of introductions. On his left was Sally, the 'guardian ad litum': she was appointed by the courts to represent Jodie's interests. The lady next to her introduced herself as Nicola, Jodie's home tutor.

Home tutor? Why isn't the child in school? I wondered. Next was Gary, Jodie's current social worker. He explained that he was about to leave the case, and hand Jodie over to Eileen, who was sitting next to him. I looked at Eileen carefully – if I was going to take Jodie, then Eileen and I would have to work closely together. At first glance she was nondescript: a woman in her forties with an unruffled and calm air about her. So far, so good.

I wasn't surprised that I was already witnessing a change of social worker. It happened all the time – it was the nature of the job that people had to move on – but it was unfortunate for the children and families involved, who were always having to learn new faces, build trust and forge fresh relationships with endless strangers.

Although I knew it was something that couldn't be altered and was just part of the system, with all its flaws, nonetheless I felt for Jodie. Changing social worker would mean yet more disruption for her, and I wondered how many social workers she'd been through already. Next, Deirdre introduced herself. She was the agency link worker for Jodie's current foster carers. Then it was my turn, and the eyes of everyone around the table turned to me.

I looked around the table, meeting the various gazes. 'I'm Cathy Glass,' I said, as clearly and confidently as I could. 'I'm a foster carer from Homefinders Fostering Agency.' There wasn't much more I could add at this stage, when I knew so little about what was going on, so I passed on to Jill.

After Jill came someone from the accounts department, followed by a member of the local authority's placement team. As they spoke, I looked over at Gary, Jodie's current social worker. He was young, and could only have been in his mid-twenties. How successful had he been at forging a relationship with Jodie? I wondered. Perhaps Eileen, as a woman, would fare better at empathizing with the little girl, so the change of social worker might be for the better in this case. I hoped so.

Once the introductions were complete, Dave thanked us for coming, and gave a brief outline of what had been happening, or to use the correct terminology: the case history to date. I warmed to Dave immediately. He was gently spoken but forthright, and looked directly at me as he spoke. I made a mental note of the salient points: Jodie had been on the 'at-risk' register since birth, which meant that Social Services had been monitoring the family for eight years. Although there had been suspicions of emotional and physical abuse by Jodie's parents, no steps had been taken to remove her or her younger brother Ben and sister Chelsea. Then, four months ago, Jodie had started a house fire by setting light to her pet dog – I shivered at this, struck by the peculiar cruelty of such an act – and that had been the catalyst for Social Services to take her and her siblings into care. Ben and Chelsea had both been placed with foster carers and were doing well. But Jodie exhibited 'very challenging behaviour'. I heard Dave deliver this euphemism and raised my eyebrows. All foster carers knew what that really stood for. It meant 'completely out of control'.

'I think it would be useful,' said Dave, looking at me, 'for you to hear from her social worker now. Gary's been on the case for two years. Feel free to ask any questions.' Despite his youth, Gary was confident and methodical as he gave me an overview of Jodie and her family.

'I'm afraid that the general picture isn't good, as you'd expect. There's severe disruption inside the family. Jodie's mother is an intravenous drug user and her father is an alcoholic. In recent years, Jodie's suffered a number of injuries while at home, including burns, scalds, cuts, bruises and a broken finger. All of these were recorded at hospital, and although it was suspected that some of the injuries were non-accidental, it was impossible to prove that this was the case.'

Gary went on with his tale of neglect and misery while I concentrated on absorbing the facts. It was an appalling case history but I'd heard similar stories many times before. Nevertheless, it never ceased to amaze and horrify me that people could treat their children with such cruelty and indifference, and I was already feeling for this poor little girl. How could any child grow and be normal in such circumstances, and with such parents as her role models?

Gary continued, 'Jodie's no longer in school because of the recent moves, which is why she's been assigned a home tutor. She has learning difficulties and a statement of special needs.'

That was straightforward enough – I was used to looking after children with developmental delays and learning difficulties. I suspected that Gary was giving me the censored version of Jodie's case history. In all my years of fostering, I'd never heard of a child going through five carers in four months. When he paused and looked at me, I seized my opportunity.

'It would be helpful if you could tell me the make-up of the families of the previous carers,' I said, hoping to discover clues to explain why Jodie had gone through so many, so fast. 'How many children did they have, and were they older or younger? Had the carers had experience with this type of child before?'

Gary coughed and looked a little shifty. 'The previous placement breakdowns were purely circumstantial,' he said. 'One of the couples were first-time carers and Jodie should never have been placed with them – that was an error on our part and it's no surprise that it didn't work out.'

That was fair enough, but as he went through the other placements, he sounded unconvincing to my ears: the others had all been experienced professionals, and yet one couple had lasted only three days. Gary's explanation that circumstances were to blame was clearly a damage limitation exercise for Jodie's sake, so that I didn't get frightened off.

Deirdre, who was the link worker representing Jodie's present foster carers, felt obliged to speak up in their defense. After all, if Jodie was as harmless as Gary was making out, it didn't exactly reflect very well on their ability to cope.

'Jodie has delayed development,' she said. 'In most respects, she acts like a three or four-year-old rather than an eight-year-old. She throws terrible tantrums and is consistently aggressive and uncooperative. Her behavior is violent, abusive and destructive. Even though she's only been with Hilary and Dave a short time, she's already broken a number of objects, including a solid wooden door.'

I raised my eyebrows. Quite a feat for an eight-year-old. But Deirdre wasn't finished yet, and she went on with her litany of Jodie's faults and shortcomings. Jodie's carers had described her as 'cold, calculating, manipulative, very rude and totally unlikeable'.

Harsh words to pin on a little girl.

Surely, I thought, someone could say something nice about her, even if it was only that she liked her food. Children in care tend to eat ravenously, because in the past many of them haven't known when the next meal would arrive. But no, not so much as 'she does like her chocolate'.

It appeared that Jodie did not have a single endearing feature. Instead, there was just a list of transgressions, with a footnote that her present carers had found her physically frightening: Jodie was a big girl, and she had threatened them.

I looked at Jill and we exchanged glances. Threatened them? I thought to myself. But she's only eight years old! How dangerous can she be? I began to feel as though I was on Jodie's side. What must it be like, having everyone one dislike you so vehemently? No wonder she wasn't able to settle anywhere.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Damaged by Cathy Glas. Copyright © 2007 by Cathy Glas. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 379 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(230)

4 Star

(101)

3 Star

(31)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 379 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read!!

    "Damaged" by Cathy Glass was one of those books that I absolutely could NOT put down. If you "enjoyed" the book "A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer, then you will love this book as well. It takes a look at the work of Cathy, who has been a foster parent for many years. She is told of a disturbed little girl, Jodie, who has been with 5 different foster homes in the short period of 4 months. Cathy decides that her experience in caring and loving foster children is more than enough to take on this new challenge. Cathy later finds that she is in for more than she bargains for with this little girl. However, Cathy does not give up and earns the trust of Jodie, only to be told bits and pieces of her horrific childhood. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone! It is an emotional true story that will leave you with a new respect for foster parents and the good people of the social service system.

    103 out of 110 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Damaged

    This book was hard to take in. It is so hard to believe the abuse that goes on outside of my world. This book really brought an uneasy feeling to my stomach because of all the torture and abuse the little girl went through not knowing that it wasn't normal. This was a good read, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone with a soft heart. Cathy Glass is one author that I will read another book from her collections. I just hope they are not all as sad as Damaged.

    43 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    Heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time! I could not p

    Heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time! I could not put this book down. The author does an exceptional job of painting a picture. You feel like a fly on the wall of this story.

    34 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Very sad but captivating

    This book was extremely sad but kept me reading. It was not boring in the least and I felt the frustration with the system along with Cathy. I expected the ending to be a bit happier but then, life does not always have the happy ending that everyone wants it to.

    26 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2010

    Heartbreaking

    I found this a book that should be read by every adult alive. Being abused my self I cannot beleive that little children have to go through this and live with this horror forever. This book is heart wrenching, but the way it was written was well told.

    21 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    A heartbreaking story that needed to be told

    This book is a difficult read because of the subject matter - but it is a story i am glad Cathy told. Child abuse is horrifying and people need to know how serious the damage is for a child that experiences this. And people must know how brokem the system is that is supposed to help these children. God bless Cathy for the work she's done caring for so many kids in need - people like her are the real heroes. The people we should be looking to as role models. My heart breaks for Jodie - but am grateful she,s been saved from the awful life she lived.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Gripping and heart breaking but with hope and encouragement for


    Gripping and heart breaking but with hope and encouragement for the rest of us to reach out and help or get help for these children. Cathy Glass has the courage and love to answer her calling in life.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    So sad, but an amazing story!

    I read the reviews of this book and I have to say, Cathy Glass is a SAINT! Incredible story of an amazing carer and child!
    Some of this book were very hard to read, but a good story!

    12 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    Very moving story.

    Since I am one of the damaged ones, I can relate to this story. More stories should be told about these little ones who have no voice of their own.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Great book

    Very sad book about sexualy abused child. Makes you cry and angry same time. You cant stop reading it.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2010

    Great Book

    I really enjoyed reading this book!! Some of the details are disturbing and its crazy how realistically children really do go through the things that jodie went through, but most are not able to explain in detail like she did. Nonetheless i really liked this book.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Anonymous

    This book was truly a quick read, although, it was not easy emotionally! The fact that these monsters could selfishly and disturbingly hurt a child that they brought into this world, or any child for that matter, is beyond comprehension! I have a 16 month old daughter and 10 year old son, and reading this story just horrifies me!! To think that these horrible monsters could enjoy doing what they did to a child almost as young as my daughter nearly makes me vomit! The sheer reality of the sickness that lives in this world literally makes you never want your children to leave your side!! Thank you Cathy Glass for sharing and most of all thank you to the care giver of Jodie! You and your amazingly acceptant children are a blessing and certainly gifts from God!! Finally, to precious little Jodie...you are a brave and wonderful little girl, and I hope that wherever you are in this cruel world today that you have found peace and hapiness and most of all LOVE! Bless you sweet girl!!!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    wow

    This is a true account of a child in foster care system. While the British terms are sometimes confusing, it helps that your nook allows you to look up terms. The abuse this child suffered boggles the imagination and there are some graphic descriptions given in the child's language. This is a riveting book that will leave you angry, sad, but hopeful.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Very detailed and heartbreaking

    What an incredible story. It is very difficult to put down. With every little step forward, there are three steps back.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Highly recommended.

    It's a great read of how damaging abuse can affect a person or little ones.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    This book is a heart wrenching story that keeps you turning the

    This book is a heart wrenching story that keeps you turning the pages. I am sad that things like this happen but if it weren't for stories like these people would turn a blind eye to situations like this. I liked this book and I am looking forward to reading others buy this author.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Highly recommended

    A tough book to read knowing that it is based on a true story. Had to stop a time or two to catch my breath. Incredible story!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Damaged

    Such a sad story. As a foster parent myself it never gets easy to stomach the abuse so many children endure. I learned a lot about how patient the foster mom was with this child.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    "D" is for Damaged, Disturbing, Disgusting...

    "Damaged" is definitely a heartbreaking and disturbing book. You learn something on every page that this little girl has endured throughout her 8 years. Don't expect a happy ending with this book and as much as I find this book revolting, it is a page turner. The book was very well written for you to absolutely HATE this child's family. So terribly sad that so many children go through such horrible things and social services look the other way on so many of them...

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Excellent!

    Couldn't put it down! Very well written!!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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