13-year-old commits suicide after changing foster homes 18 times

Zhane Chilcott, a 13-year-old Australian teenager, has decided to end his life after living in 18 foster homes.

Zhane Chilcott is a sad story. The story of a child that no one wanted, that everyone rejected, and who decided to end it once and for all. The situations of orphans are very delicate because their fate depends entirely on the family that welcomes and accepts them.

From foster family to foster family, from home to home, it’s a life Zhane Chilcott didn’t want, at just 13 years old. In 2016, he ended his life following his repeated failures to integrate into a new family. The young teenager twisted after having changed his family and social environment eighteen times.

Medical Examiner David Whittle has investigated Zhane Chilcott’s case, stipulating that her death could have been prevented many times over. Multiple factors explain the suicide of the young teenager, between the missed opportunities to reach out to him, to follow him psychologically and to treat him.

“The cumulative effect of all these failures has increased the risk of suicide. If these failings had not occurred, one can only say that the risk of Zhane committing suicide should have been reduced,” concluded David Whittle.

Zhane Chilcott began his long journey through foster care when he was one year old. The successive placements to which he was subjected did not give him the chance to develop in a relationship of trust and in a healthy and stable environment with adults to take care of him.

His life course has also been disrupted by a myriad of behavioral problems in family or foster care and at school. During these episodes, no one had reached out to him.

Nevertheless, a positive experience took place in a foster home, in which the teenager succeeded in channeling himself, developing himself and being more assiduous in school. However, due to a lack of financial means, the foster home could not keep him.

Noting all these structural failures with regard to orphans, David Whittle advocates the establishment of a risk register for children in the care of the state, which would record all threats or incidents of self-harm. .

He also recommended the use of a review of foster care payments in an effort to increase the number of people willing to foster children. Finally, it also recommends that the children in care have contact with the members of the biological family, if there is one, at least once a year.

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