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This content is taken from the University of Strathclyde & CELCIS's online course, Caring for Vulnerable Children. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds An increasing number of families are living in poverty and difficult circumstances across Scotland. Figures produced by the Child Poverty Action Group state that more than one in five of Scotland’s children are officially recognised as living in poverty. This has significant implications for a number of organisations charged with supporting and caring for the most vulnerable sections of our society.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds Our story over the next six weeks will follow Billy, a 12-year-old boy living in the west of Scotland in a community hit hard by both the recent round of social services cuts, and before that, the industrial recession suffered by the United Kingdom during the 1980s. Billy lives with his mother Karen in a flat on a council estate. His estranged father, William, lives nearby, although he has little contact. Billy has no brothers and sisters. Billy and his mother have a difficult relationship. Karen works long hours in a local convenience store earning only the minimum wage. Her take-home pay doesn’t provide for much beyond basic living necessities.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 seconds The long hours that Karen is required to work means that Billy will often be left to get himself up in the morning and ready for school. Karen is frequently still at work when Billy returns from school, leaving him to prepare his own evening meal.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds Karen has a history of depression and anxiety.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 seconds GP: Did the tablets that you had before help at all?

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds KAREN: They just made me really sleepy. I couldn’t do nothing.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds GP: Yeah. She regularly has to visit her GP when her condition worsens and be prescribed medication. At its worst, this can leave Karen unable to attend work, and she’s already lost one job as a consequence of frequent absences. Billy finds this situation stressful. When Karen is feeling low, Billy worries about her constantly. When this is happening, he finds it difficult to concentrate at school, and would rather stay at home where he can be sure that she’s OK.

Watch Billy's story: 'Introducing Billy'

Here we are introduced to the fictional scenario running throughout ‘Caring for Vulnerable Children’.

Watch the first part of Billy’s story and meet Billy and his mother Karen.

The next step will be a discussion where you will be asked to share your thoughts on the story.

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This video is from the free online course:

Caring for Vulnerable Children

University of Strathclyde