At 14, she was moved from West London, where she’d lived all her life, to a foster carer near Ashford, Kent. She had never experienced racism until the move.
Louiseis one of the young people who worked with us on our #GoneTooFar campaign, which highlights the large numbers of children in care who are moved far from the people and places that matter to them when it’s not in their best interests.
She recently shared her story on Channel 4 News in a piece which also features the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, and Shadow Children’s Minister, Helen Hayes.
It’s so important where you place a child – those actions shape a child’s future. I missed so many opportunities by not going to school.
⎯⎯ Louise, 22
“I went into care with my twin sister and my younger sister when I was 11 and we lived with the same foster carer for two years. I fell in with a bad friendship group at school and was getting in trouble, so had to move placement. But because there wasn’t anywhere for me to live close by, or even in London, I was moved to a small village outside Ashford in Kent.
I didn’t know what racism was until I moved to Kent. There was no diversity. I liked my foster carers but I was racially bullied, even by the teachers. I was told to sit at the back of the class because my hair obscured those sitting behind me.
My social worker was great and did his best to support me. He travelled to the school to speak to parents and staff about racism, but it didn’t achieve anything. School became a battle zone and barely attended. I finished my GCSEs, failed them and moved back to London to attend sixth form college.”
“I retook my GCSEs but couldn’t study for A levels when I was living in a hostel and working to pay bills. It was too much. I’m now on an Internship at the DfE, but it took so much hardship to get here.
It’s so important where you place a child – those actions shape a child’s future. I missed so many opportunities by not going to school. Those two years living in Kent changed my life.”