We are fully committed to the genuine acceptance of difference, and of the right of everyone to be who they wish to be. We will pioneer excellence on behalf of LGBTQI children & young people in care, and strive to develop an ethos of tolerance, understanding and inclusive practice across all agencies working with looked after children nationwide. We are committed to sharing best practice with local authorities, schools and other children’s organisations, as we ourselves are open to learning from others.
It has become clear that there is very limited information for or about LGBTQI young people in care. There is an ad hoc, react as we go approach across many local authorities, care agencies, foster carers, social workers and health professionals. Some may be doing excellent work but it has been hard to identify that work.
The lack of supportive and clear information presents a risk to the well being of young people in care now and in their future lives. There is some information available through schools and youth services but unfortunately some young people in care are not given access to these services. We have 8 overiding goals:
Celebrate gay culture. To celebrate and promote gay culture as something to be proud of.
Access to services. To provide transport and access to services, groups and resources.
Acceptance. To promote an ethos of acceptance nationwide of young people and their identity.
Promote individualism and identity. Allow young people to be themselves and explore their identity at their pace. Support and advocate for young people through this process.
Coming out. To ensure that all young people in care are in an environment where they are safe to come out and are supported to do so.
Health and wellbeing. To understand that being LGBT is not a mental health difficulty. The way society treats young people can lead to mental health difficulties.
Personal safety. To protect all young people from homophobia, transphobia and harassment. To challenge those who bully and harass.
Break down myths, stigma's and stereotypes. Advocate for young people at meetings, in the home and elsewhere to break down the myths and stereotypes surrounding LGBT young people.
What has been done?
Timeline of action to improve LGBT inclusion
July 2013: Jacob (Director, Three Circles Fostering) began voluntary work with LGBT foundation and found that there was nothing available for young people in care.
September 2013: Agreed a project was needed to address lack of information - Andrew (LGBT foundation) and Jacob produced draft guidelines on what information was required to inform professionals.
28th January 2014: Jacob and Andrew sent a call for participation through the LGBT Foundation mailing list.
26th April 14 2014: A group of care leavers from across the UK came together in Manchester to share experience and design resources.
From the consultation, a leaflet was produced entitled 'Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans Yougn People - Information for Foster Carers'. 3000 were printed. 1200 distributed to North West Local Authority fostering services. Rest distributed through LGBT foundation and individual requests.
17th March 2014: First conference on LGBT experience of care (run by Three Circles Fostering in Wilmslow) - information shared from 26/04/14 (Jacob), LGBT Foundation Research on Health outcomes (Andrew Gilliver), Care Leavers Association (Jakeb Arturo Braden) and Stockport Sexual Health Services.
Jacob was interviewed on Gaydio and talked about the care experience of LGBT young people in care.
Three Circles Fostering worked with 'Proud2B parents' - met with parents and worked on promoting understanding of fostering for organisation leadership.
Published article of fostering on 'Proud2B parents'.
26th May 2016 Jacob met Tara (Trans Equality Legal Initiative) and discussed the experiences of trans youth in care.
9th July 2016 Three Circles Fostering delivered a trans consultation at the Sparkle festival in Manchester.
11th September 2016 Three Circles Fostering delivered a trans consultation with the young people at the Afternoon Tea group at The Proud Trust.
October 2016: Trans youth in foster care leaflet produced from the consultations.
November 2016: Work with Mermaids, foster carers, trans youth and Manchester social services to develop a Trans youth in care - toolkit for social care professionals.
Trans and LGB training for foster carers 2017.
Video training resources for all social care providers.
Trans foster carer resources.
What do we want? Care leavers and LGB and Trans people to contribute and share.