Hackney Child – the true story of a neglected but resourceful child, surviving poverty and the care system.

By Hope Daniels and Morag Livingstone

A book review by Urs Bielmann, Director of UK Fostering

This remarkable story is told through the eyes of a child as she is growing up in the eighties. Memories and experiences are shared in an amazingly frank and transparent way, which enable the reader to paint a very real picture of the scenes. The language used is sometimes raw, just as the situations and circumstances the young child, called Hope, finds herself in.

‘Hackney Child’ offers a refreshingly honest, first-hand account of a young woman growing up in the care system. It offers an invaluable insight into the emotional world of such children, and the day to day life of Hope Daniels.

As a social worker and practitioner I found it very inspiring to read Hope’s story from her own perspective. The author is able to go back in time and tell us her story, through the words and eyes of a child, as she tries to make sense of the world around her.

Perhaps most poignant is the absence of blame or bitterness on the part of the author in the pages of this book. Instead, the resolve and determination to build a positive and enjoyable life for herself and her family carries her way beyond this point, which makes reading this book a humbling experience.

Much in this story is about hardship, poverty, neglect and disappointment, but the message and of this book and Hope’s life is a much, much bigger one: It is about breaking out of the cycle of neglect, amazing resilience, true bravery, determination, love and forgiveness. This is something I believe we can all learn from, as child care professionals and as parents.

I would recommend this book to anyone who works with families and children. It will touch your heart, stir all kinds of emotions, and give you a perspective which is so child focused, it may change how you view the care system.