Young People Interviews, Foster Carer Interviews, Focus Group, and Survey Data From a Study of the Experiences and Identity Development of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender Young People in Care and the Support They Receive, 2015-2016



This study's objectives are to investigate how LGBT young people experience growing up in care and how they negotiate their identities. There have been no major published research studies on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) young people in care in the UK and the services that may be needed to support them. Even in the most recent Care Planning Guidance (DCSF 2010a), sexual orientation and gender identity are not mentioned as issues that may need to be taken into account in ensuring the well-being of young people in care. This is a matter for concern when research suggests that both LGBT young people and young people in care are at risk of stigma, discrimination, bullying and mental health difficulties. There is the potential, therefore, for LGBT young people in care to face a 'double jeopardy'. The study explores the perspectives young people have about the intersectional relationship between their care and LGBT statuses, understood in the context of the multiplicity of other factors, such as ethnicity, experiences of abuse, separation and loss that also affect and contribute to identity formation. The study also investigates the national provision of services and support for LGBT young people in care and explores the experiences of foster carers who care for them.

The study uses a mixed methods, layered design: 1. In-depth narrative interviews with a sample of 46 LGBT young people, from across England, aged 16-26 who are currently or were previously in care. The interviews focused on enabling young people to describe their sense of identity; their experiences in placement; their contact with birth relatives; their relationships with close friends, partners and peer groups; their contact with professionals (e.g. teachers, social workers); and their experience in the wider community. Narrative analysis of the interviews was used to provide an in-depth and nuanced understanding of identity development. 2. Semi-structured interviews with 26 foster carers across England who had experience of caring for LGBT young people. Interviews provide information from carers about the young people's experiences, but also how carers see their roles, relationships and the support they need. Data was analysed thematically using NVivo. 3. A survey of local authority policy, provision and practice to identify services available to LGBT young people in care or leaving care. 78% (n=118) of English local authorities returned data. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic qualitative coding. 4. Multi-agency focus groups were held with a range of professionals, towards the end of the project, exploring the policy and practice issues emerging from the literature review, survey and qualitative interviews. Focus groups were conducted in 2 Northern Metropolitan boroughs and an Eastern Non-Metropolitan county.
Date made available14 Jun 2024
PublisherUK Data Archive
Date of data production1 Nov 2014 - 31 Mar 2017

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