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Those Tracks On My Face
No-one knows more about children in trouble – and how to keep them out of trouble, than Barbara Holborow. In this best-selling book, Barbara draws on the knowledge and wisdom acquired in her many years as a Children’s Court magistrate, where she presided over the best and the worst of children, and those dealing with them. She tells the story of her own life as well, and in these pages there is a wealth of practical advice for those who want the best out of the most valuable thing in our lives – our children.
“Times change, ideas about ‘good parenting’ come and go, but what Barbara Holborow knows about children in trouble is still true, wise and relevant – because kids never change. During her 20 years in the Children’s Court she witnessed both the tragedy of kids gone wrong and the triumph of young adults re-making their lives. She talked tough but kept her eyes and heart open – and luckily for us parents, wrote this book, which has become a best-seller.”
journalist, and host of ABC TV’s First Tuesday Book Club.
Barbara Holborow served for 12 years as a magistrate in the children's court, where her compassion and outspokenness were legendary -- perhaps because of her own beginnings.
Although she describes her childhood as happy, it was also lonely. An only child, her parents were fiercely protective. As Barbara tells it, that's the reason why she has 'enough love to hand out to other kids forever'.
When she was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of thirteen, her overwhelming feeling was one of guilt -- a fear that she had let her parents down. It was a feeling she conquered, and since then she has never allowed the condition to hold her back.
That does not mean it hasn't left a mark. Doctors at the time did not fully understand the complications that diabetes could bring to a pregnancy and Barbara's first child (a boy) died soon after he was born. Although she later gave birth to a healthy girl, the death of her first child reverberated through her life. Not long after Louise's birth, Barbara split with her husband and moved back with her parents, found a job as a legal secretary and resumed her studies -- first high school then law. She was thirty nine when she graduated as a solicitor.
Barbara specialised in children's cases and it was through her work at a women's refuge that she met Jacob, a young Aboriginal boy she adopted. Since then, many foster children have come under Barbara's care, but it is as a magistrate that Barbara has had an impact on the lives of thousands of kids. Fiercely committed to reforming the judicial system for children, she was involved in setting up free legal aid for children in NSW, a care court that deals with cases of neglect, and a special jail for first-time offenders aged eighteen to twenty five.