05 March 2009


by Cathy Glass

Harper Collins Publishers. Biographical, Adult Non-Fiction. Paperback rrp $32.99

It takes a special person to foster a child. And it takes a very special person to foster a teenage child. Someone like Cathy Glass.

Over 25 years ago, Cathy and her husband, John, decided that they could spare a bit of love for a child in need. Both Cathy and John had no children and decided to become foster parents.

Cathy and John wanted to foster young children – babies. But their first foster child was a 15 year-old boy, Jack. The three of them got on well. Jack attended school and was waiting until his biological father could find accommodation for both of them. Soon Cathy found out she was pregnant. After several months Jack finally left to live with his father. And then Adrian, Cathy and John’s son, was born.

When Adrian was four months old they received a call asking if they would take another child in – 13 year-old Dawn. It was urgent and Cathy thought, after the positive experience they had with Jack, that it wouldn’t be a great strain on their home life. Besides Dawn would be at school most of the time…

And so Cathy, John and Adrian accepted Dawn into their home. Dawn always seemed polite and well mannered and did as she was told. But then strange things started to happen. Things took a dangerous turn, not only for Dawn, but also Adrian, Cathy and John.

Cut is the real-life account of a lovely young girl whose forgotten past turned her into a self-harming, wild child. With very little help from social services and little experience of children’s behaviours, Cathy and John tried hard to help Dawn. The Glass’ were never told of Dawn’s background and didn’t know where to turn. It was only after her second suicide attempt in their care that Cathy and John learned the true story and Dawn finally got the help she desperately needed.

What happened to Dawn could have, and probably still does happen, to many children. Hopefully in today’s times there are people who can read the early warning signs and stop the hurt before it gets too far. And there are books like Glass’ to continue raising awareness in the broader community.

Cathy has been a foster carer for more than twenty years and writes under a pseudonym.



  1. Looks like this is going on the must read list. There is so little that deals with Emo and self-harm in teenage girls these days. Di Bates also did a fine job with 'Crossing the Line'. Scary reads - but necessary, especially for those wanting to undersatnd and help.

  2. With a teenage girl and boy myself I do agree and think it is good for the parents/carers to understand the signs.
    Barbara Brown - Senior Editor