There's a young woman coming into care who needs a home.
She won't want to come into care, she'll want to stay where she is and look after her family, because she has become the head of the house.
Her mum has learning difficulties and has had too many children mainly because she is persuaded to the pub five or six nights a week and back to someone else's place. Dad is not on the scene. The mum's eldest, the young woman coming into care, gets up every morning and sorts out her brothers and sisters while the mum sleeps off the previous night's excesses.
She handles the laundry cycle, shops and cooks the evening meal, hoovers and dusts.
She supports the younger siblings, re-assures them about bed-wetting and why school is a good idea. She can't fix the dodgy boiler, but knows to call social services and they arrange a plumber. She is basically a surrogate mother to the youngest of the brood, a boy who is 20 months. She Googles everything she needs to know about his needs.
She's ten years old.
Social services are going in to bring the children into care tomorrow, they put out a discreet heads-up to potential foster homes, I agreed to consider her, but it would mean a new school for her or a very long school run, so I'm out of the picture.
Social services have had the family on their radar for a while. The decision to intervene is always a nightmare for them. How can you decide the moment has arrived to break up a family for their own good?
It comes down to likelihood of harm, as I understand it. Christmas is coming, a harrowing time for many chaotic families, their last one was a shocker.
And a kid who most families would consider is not old enough to walk to school alone should not be having to stay up until midnight to sort mum out when she staggers in not always alone.
Of course, this is a complicated case, because the child cares about the mum, and the other kids.
But the mum is doing drink and drugs way too much and there are men coming round and things that are unknown.
The children are coming into care, rightly.
Anyone want to look after a child who is possibly more capable, more generous, intelligent and loving than a great many adults I know?
She'll have 'issues', no doubt.
Fostering really is Forrest Gump's box of chocolates.