Book Review: No Accountability

No AccountabilityNo Accountability by Keith Lawton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Keith was a little boy who was a victim of the system. He lost his dad in a tragic accident when he was 5, and his mum was deemed “unfit” to raise her boys due to her mental health condition. As a consequence, Keith bounced around from group home to foster home until he finally ran away and made something of himself. But of course, it should have never come to that. Abuses in the system were rampant and he was not the only victim.

No Accountability is a memoir from author Keith Lawton, and a follow up to his debut book No Photographs. It records details of his life - some based on his memory, some based on others or records he found - as he grew up in council care (foster care) in England in the 1970’s. As I work in adoption, it breaks my heart to see all the abuses in the system that is supposed to be a safety net for kids. I read most of his book as a sad little boy still longing just to know and belong, while being failed at every turn by the adults who were supposed to be looking out for him. I don’t know that his solution of staying with his mom while the state supported her in her mental health care would have worked out exactly as he assumed it would, as being raised by a parent with a severe mental health condition is just as challenging as being married to one, which he also experienced. However I do think it sounds possibly preferable than what he got. But still there should have been a better way, and while most professionals are loathe to point out their own errors, perhaps those of us now working in child welfare can read this as a cautionary tale and examine our own actions to ensure no other child is abused by the system in this way.

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