Powerful letter of thanks
A teenager in the care of Oranga Tamariki writes to his social worker, thanking her for the massive difference she's made in his life over the years.
“You never fail to care about us and protect us.”
Tom is a teenager in the care of Oranga Tamariki and recently wrote these words to his social worker, Layla. Names have been changed
He describes his years living with a caregiver as the most stable he has ever been, and he acknowledges that having consistent contact with his social worker contributes to his wellbeing.
“Layla is someone who has made my life and my siblings’ lives better,” he says.
"It’s been a long road but you have always stuck by us and believed in us, I will always have faith in you."
Layla says Tom’s letter has had a big impact on her. "I felt appreciated, I shed a tear and I felt proud of my work. I see him growing into who he wants to be and I’m supporting him from the sidelines. I want him to focus on being a kid and on his schoolwork. I admire him," she says.
Thinking back to when he first came into care, Tom says he felt like he wasn’t worth anything.
"I was confused and traumatised, going to a stranger to be cared for, but immediately I felt safe, calm, warm and welcomed and loved like a son."
His response to what he feels he is worth now? “Everything, so many people appreciate me, are accepting of me, I love school. I realise that being in a bad environment when I was younger doesn’t make me a bad person. I can see a future," Tom says.
"I really appreciate how hard you work for not only me, but all the children you look after and care about."
Tom is proud of his achievements at school and is determined not let the past get in the way of his future.
His hopes for the future include going to university, becoming a social worker and trying to help other young people who have had a difficult home life.
Layla has no doubt that Tom will achieve his dreams.