Aiming to secure better support for LGBT young people in care, Emma Willoughby is campaigning for more training to be made available to foster parents.
Her story was shown on ITV News West Country (E) on Friday 9th January.
Emma, who’s from Somerset, wants carers to be better educated on LGBT issues, so they can be more understanding if they find themselves looking after a young person who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
‘I have been in foster care for most of my teenage years,' explains 18-year-old Emma.
'During that time I realised that I was bisexual.
‘In one of my placements, I was very fond of the people, but I felt I couldn’t talk to them about my sexuality.
‘It just made me feel like I was living two different lives and not being able to live the one life that I really wanted to.
‘If you don’t talk to the people that are closest to you, it can make you feel very isolated and very alone.’
With Fixers, Emma is helping to create a leaflet to provide foster carers with definitions of key LGBT terms. It also offers her ‘Top 10 Tips’ for supporting and accepting a young person coming out as LGBT.
Emma’s campaign has the backing of the Somerset Fostering team, who are planning to help her distribute her resource across the county.
Elaine Ford, Team Manager for Fostering and Adoption, appears in the broadcast in support of the project.
‘There is a gap in foster care training regarding LGBT issues, but there is always room to increase our knowledge about current issues with young people in the care system,’ she explains.
‘It’s really important for young people to be able to talk about their sexuality with their carers.
‘This leaflet is a fantastic resource.’
Emma adds: ‘I think it’s great that Somerset Fostering have already agreed to take my training on board.
‘It will be even better and make me even more proud if it went further than Somerset eventually.’
Help Fix It – Share this story!
Charlotte and Laura La Riviere are urging young people in care to accept
any support on offer. Watch their Fixers film.