Six young researchers, all identifying themselves as a part of the LGBTQA+ community and who have lived under care, have made a new film about the experiences of the people from the LGBTQA+ community living under care in partnership with the University of East Anglia and the Creative Research Collective (CRC).
The film will be out in this weekend and especially focuses on young, curious LGBTQA+ people coming out while living in a care system. The film, called SpeakOut will be talking about the findings of a nation wide study, also called SpeakOut, led by researchers from the University of East Anglia’s Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF).
The research not only throws light on the risk and vulnerability experienced by LGBTQA+ youth, but also shows how strong and resilient these young people are. The research also talks about how support from foster families and experts who work with the care system. The study is the largest and the first of its kind research project in England.
The six young researchers who worked on the film made sure that they also incorporate their own experience to make the film more relevant for LGBTQ+ youth living in care. They want to raise awareness for these people and improve the services of the care system as they prepare for the screening of the film today at a public launch event which will be a part of the Norwich Pride celebrations.
For the study, researchers interviewed 46 young LGBTQ+ people and 26 foster care providers who have some experience of caring for LGBTQ+ young people. A survey that involved 152 local authorities, focus groups, social workers and other professionals working in education and youth offence was also a part of the study.
Dr Jeanette Cossar from UEA’s School of Social Work, who is the lead researcher of the study, said, “The responses from the young people in particular provide powerful insights into both their personal journeys and their varied experiences of services. Their contribution enhanced every stage of this project. We hope the film and the recommendations we’ve made for those working in the care system will lead to a better understanding of the issues facing LGBTQ young people in care and ultimately improve services and support.”
Brett Service, one of the young people featured in the film added, “As a gay care leaver I got involved in this amazing project to improve services offered to both the current generation of LGBTQ children in care and care leavers, as well as any future generations.”
“It is important that LGBTQ young people get the correct support from professionals involved in their care so they don’t feel alone, unwanted or unsupported. In this project we have all been able use our expertise as care leavers as well as our expertise as members of the LGBTQ community to advocate on behalf of other young people who are LGBTQ to make the changes needed”, said Service.
To know more about the findings of the research and the film, you can visit the project’s website by clicking on this link, https://www.uea.ac.uk/speakout