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Loving a Foster Child

March 21, 2013 permalink

After a teenaged boy was separated from his family by force of arms, social workers placed him in a residential school where staffer Vicky Callaghan, twice his age, fell in love with him. She has now resigned her job and the two are sharing the same home.

It is easy to express shock, as do the two enclosed articles, or to make fun of this kind of affair. But when unrelated persons above the age of puberty are put together by force, an occasional romance is inevitable. If you see something wrong in this story, think of it as one more reason not to take people away from their real family.



Mother-of-two care worker, 33, was 'fired over affair with troubled boy of 16 at residential school'

  • Places at the school cost the council up to £200,000 a year
  • Ex-husband was suspicious when teenager sent a romantic birthday card
  • It is thought Mrs Callaghan and the teenager are still in a relationship
Vicky Callaghan
Under investigation: Vicky Callaghan, 33, is being investigated by police after she allegedly conducted an affair with a boy she had been asked to help as a care worker

A mother of two has lost her job as a care worker after being accused of starting an affair with a troubled teenager.

Vicky Callaghan, 33, is believed to have been assigned the boy at a residential school where she worked to help tackle his ‘attachment issues’.

But she is understood to have been dismissed after allegedly beginning a secret relationship with the 16-year-old, who had been placed there by social workers.

The pair are still thought to be in a relationship, and Mrs Callaghan was last night being investigated by police over whether her behaviour constituted a criminal offence.

Meanwhile her ex-husband, Peter Callaghan, 46, has raised concerns about the impact that spending time with the ‘challenging’ teenager may have on the couple’s children – both aged under five – when they visit their mother.

Mrs Callaghan worked as a mental health practitioner giving one-to-one help to pupils at a school for children with behavioural difficulties.

Teenagers are referred to the school in Greater Manchester with places costing councils up to £200,000 a year per child.

The youth with whom Mrs Callaghan is accused of having a relationship is understood to have been sent to the school after concerns about his family home life.

The council involved in the decision is not in Greater Manchester.

A relative of Mr Callaghan said: ‘Suspicion was first raised last year when he [the teenager] bought her a blouse for her birthday and wrote “To Vicky, lots of love” in the card.’ He claimed the pair were later seen holding hands and Mrs Callaghan started acting like a love-struck teenager.

Mrs Callaghan is understood to have initially denied any relationship, sources have told the Daily Mail, only to be dismissed last summer for abusing her position following an investigation.

According to internal documents, she described what she’d done as ‘the biggest mistake of my life’.

In a letter about the case last November, a council director wrote: ‘It is clear Mrs Callaghan has shown very poor judgement and that she has abused her position of trust and should not be allowed to work with young people in the future.’

He went on to write that Mrs Callaghan had been ‘advised’ not to ‘promote contact’ between the teenager and her own children, but that ‘information would suggest that they are in fact having contact’.

Now her ex-husband is demanding the council steps in. ‘Given the sort of teenagers who go to that school, he’s horrified to think that one of them might be helping to look after his kids,’ a relative said.

Mrs Callaghan is now living in a rented two-bedroom house. Asked if she had any comment to make about the alleged relationship, she replied ‘No’ and shut the door.

The teenager – who is said to be doing well at college – arrived at the house a short time later.

The council which originally placed the teenager at the school would not comment.

Asked about Mrs Callaghan’s dismissal, a spokesman for the body which runs the school would only say: ‘That particular member of staff no longer works at the school.’

Mrs Callaghan is also believed to have been referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service which has power to bar adults from working with children.

Police said they were going to look at whether Mrs Callaghan’s relationship with the teen constituted a criminal offence.

A spokesman said: ‘We have received a complaint alleging an inappropriate relationship between a staff member and a pupil at a school.

‘The force take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and will work with children’s services and other agencies to fully investigate these claims.’

Source: Daily Mail

Mother slams council chiefs for allowing her troubled 16-year-old son set up home with his blonde 33-year-old care worker

  • Mother furious after nothing done to prevent son moving in with Vicky Callaghan and described situation as 'absolutely disgraceful'
  • Mrs Callaghan resigned from her job after the affair came to light
  • Police and social workers have visited the pair as part of an investigation
  • Report has concluded that both are able to be in a relationship

The mother of a troubled 16-year-old boy has slammed council officials for allowing him to set up home with his blonde 33-year-old care worker.

The mother said she was furious after nothing was done to prevent her son moving in with Vicky Callaghan, who was one of his support team at his residential school.

Mrs Callaghan, who has two children under five, resigned from her job as mental health practitioner at the school for boys with severe emotional and behavioural problems after the affair came to light.

Police and social workers have visited the pair as part of a council child protection investigation and a report has concluded: ‘Technically both parties are able to be in a relationship with each other regardless of how “appropriate” this is.’

But the boy’s mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has described the situation as ‘absolutely disgraceful’. She said: ‘I knew my son was close to Vicky, but I didn’t realise just how close.

‘I have seen a lot of pictures of them together, but you wouldn’t dream they’d go off together.

‘I can’t believe the council allowed it and I can’t understand how this woman has been allowed to get away with it.’

The mother, who has five other children and lives with her partner in a two-bedroom council maisonette, added that her son had been referred to the school because he had dyslexia, and that ‘this Vicky’ had told her he had anger issues.

‘I asked her what the school was going to do about it and she said they would give him a course of therapy.

‘The next thing I knew they were shacked up together. Is that what they call therapy these days? What exactly are they running there?’

The boy’s mother admits to an unconventional lifestyle. She lists her hobbies as ‘the Sun, Brothers cider, and Pit Bulls’ on a social networking site. As she spoke to The Mail on Sunday she apologised for wearing a teddy bear-style hat, saying: ‘I’ve just had my hair done.’

Suspicions about the relationship were first raised when Mrs Callaghan’s colleagues noticed her and the boy having frequent one-to-one sessions. Things came to a head when they were spotted together outside the school, which is strictly forbidden. She was reportedly seen picking him up in his car.

Mrs Callaghan and the boy, who has left the school, now live in a smart three-bedroom bungalow in a well-heeled village about a mile from the former home she shared with her estranged husband Peter, 46.

Mrs Callaghan said it would be ‘inappropriate’ to talk about the relationship when The Mail on Sunday visited her at the bungalow. She answered the door and smiled as the 16-year-stood stood behind her in the hallway. ‘I really would love to put the record straight and give my side of the story but I can’t,’ she told a reporter.

Mr Callaghan knew the boy, who reportedly walks around the village holding hands with and kissing Mrs Callaghan, because he also used to work at the school, as a social worker.

He too has complained about the relationship being allowed to continue. A relative said: ‘He was basically told that because the teenager hadn’t made a complaint, there was nothing anyone could do.’

In an internal report, seen by The Mail on Sunday, a senior council official wrote: ‘It is clear that Mrs Callaghan has shown very poor judgment and that she has abused her position of trust and should not be allowed to work with young people in future.’

Source: Daily Mail

Another romance, this time between Scottish care worker Louise McHugh her ward Ryan Esdale.



Social worker who lost her job after running off with 16-year-old from care home now plans to marry him

LOUISE McHUGH lost her career and her friends and faced a police probe after falling for teenager but the 36-year-old claims she'd do it all over again.

Louise McHugh and Ryan Esdale
Louise and Ryan near their home in Carlisle
Alex Alevroyiannis

A 36-YEAR-OLD social worker who ran off with a teenage boy she was meant to be caring for yesterday insisted she would do it again.

Louise McHugh insisted: “We love each other so much. I don’t have one regret.”

Louise, 36, from Glasgow, was working at a home for vulnerable youngsters when she fell for 16-year-old Ryan Esdale.

She lost her £24,000-a-year job as a senior care worker and was questioned by the police on suspicion of three ­charges of sexual activity with a child.

There was no prosecution – but by then all her friends had disowned her. She could find work only as a cleaner.

Yet it seems Louise and Ryan have found happiness. They are engaged and plan to marry with a honeymoon on a Greek island.

The wedding and holiday will be ­funded by a £6000 student grant awarded to pay for Ryan’s college joinery course.

Louise said: “We can’t help how we feel. Ryan makes me happy.”

But there has been a price. Louise said: “I get terrible looks from people when they see Ryan out with me and if they know I’m not his mum. They say looks can kill. Well if that’s true, I should have died about 100 times. But it’s keeping us together. We love each other. Age is just a number.”

The pair met when she was assigned to be his key worker at Wilderness Experiences, the residential kids’ home where she worked. The centre offers troubled youngsters the chance to do a range of outdoor pursuits while being cared for by trained staff.

Ryan was transferred there after bosses at his previous placement could do ­nothing about his violent temper.

He has convictions for vandalism and violence, including GBH, and has been in and out of care homes and young ­offender centres for much of his life.

Louise and Ryan developed an ­affection which quickly escalated.

They phoned every night and sent 100 texts a day. One night Louise booked a hotel room in Glasgow – and ­bedded him for the first time.

They went on a camping trip in the Trossachs in Perthshire and spent another night at a hotel.

Ryan then began absconding from his new care home to get to Louise’s home in Carlisle.

He moved in and they made it clear they were an item. Louise ­introduced Ryan to her ­parents at Christmas. She said: “They were shocked at first because of the age difference but they have been very ­supportive ever since. Their view is that if I’m happy, they are happy.”

Louise added: “Nothing happened while Ryan was at the Wilderness Experiences centre but we liked each other and got on well.

“After his placement ended, he began text messaging me and those messages gradually became more and more flirty.

“That was exciting. I was single at the time. I’d been single for about 18 months. We shared 100 texts a day then talked every night on the phone.

“Ryan was in a sort of halfway house care facility and suggested we should meet up. I was worried because I thought I might lose my job.

“But I thought he was worth it. I went up to Glasgow and met him around the corner from his care home and we went to the Jury’s Inn hotel.

“We had a beer and a chat in the room. I was duty manager at the Wilderness Experience that weekend and my work phone kept going off.

“I was very stressed. But then we had our first kiss and I knew then he was worth any risk.

“We jumped into bed. I was 34 and he was 16 so I was self-conscious. I kept thinking, ‘Why has he gone for me?’ I never thought it was wrong, although I knew at work and other people would see it as wrong. I was following my heart.

"You have to take chances in life or you risk missing out on something really good. We have grown stronger together, even though the whole world seems to be against us.

“Forty of my friends have disowned me. I can count on one hand the friends I have left.”

Ryan said: “I couldn’t give a damn she’s twice my age. I just thought she was beautiful. I don’t care what people think as long as they keep their thoughts to themselves.

“I’ve hit one of my neighbours who was giving me a hard time.”

Ryan bought an engagement ring and proposed while they were in bed. The couple now plan a honeymoon on the Greek island of Cefalonia.

Louise was found guilty of seven ­misconduct charges at a Scottish Social Services Council ­disciplinary hearing in Dundee in September.

Her boss Claire Houghton appeared as a witness.

She said Louise had been a model employee who she was happy to describe as “very dedicated and very professional” until the Ryan affair.

She said: “Lou was placed in a position of trust. We’re not dealing with a normal young boy here.

“He is very vulnerable with a very mixed upbringing. He was not in a position to consent. This is an abusive relationship.”

Source: Glasgow Daily Record