Sir: In response to Polly Toynbee's article on Barnardo's ("Suffer the little children", 4 July). I am an "old" Barnardo's girl and proud of it. Barnardo's personnel provided warmth, understanding, stability, encouragement and interest, allowing me to develop and attain my full potential, educationally, socially and individually. There are many of us who have eternal gratitude and affection for Barnardo's for those very reasons.
The article was biased towards failure and shortfall. As in every family in the land, there are problems, but this isn't due to being "in care". I remember no more marshalling and drilling of us than with any large family. Time for the individual was always available, more so than in the average family.
I personally chose to nurse, and for 26 years was a trained psychiatric nurse. I never ever had a patient who was raised in Barnardo's. I did have a few who had been in local council care, in which I spent my first eight years, in and out, and found thoroughly upsetting.
I had 13 infant and junior schools, numerous fosterings, and endless returns home which failed due to abuse and neglect. So for me, Barnardo's was my salvation; supporting me within my family would have been an absolute waste of resources.
Diane C. Kimpton