Primary and Secondary in Oxford
Portsmouth School of Art
- Foster carer
Louise Allen was born in 1967 in a mother and baby home in St Aldates, Oxford, England. Her mother was a schoolgirl who had been groomed and raped (although the mother’s perception of this was that he loved her she enjoyed and loved him) by a married man with two children of his own, both older than Allen’s own mother.
Allen’s mother was targeted as she walked back from girl guides in November of 1963 as a crowd gathered to watch the assignation of John F Kennedy on a television in a store showroom window. From that point on Allen’s father watched her mother, made himself a family friend and got free access to Allen’s mother.
Allen’s mother was forced to put her up for adoption, she went to a family who had already fostered then adopted a child. The family were known in the community, school and to the Children’s Department for cruelty towards their adopted son. Allen’s maternal grandmother, a gipsy, refused to acknowledge her existence. Her birth father was a Moroccan Jew.
Allen’s adoptive family finally decided to take her after repeatedly changing their minds. It was agreed that because of the cruelty and abuse they were accused of with their adopted son that Allen initially would be fostered.
Reports and evidence of concerns, neglect and abuse mounted, however, nothing was acted upon. According to Allen’s file, they were many who were deeply concerned and felt the adoption should not go ahead. It was agreed that Allen’s new adoptive mother needed a phycological review and that Allen was in danger.
Despite the serious concerns, reports and reviews from the professionals and the Director of Children’s Services. The Director of Social Services stated that Allen would need to be baptised, she and the judge were apparently of the same church. Despite the mounting evidence that this family had harmed the other children in their care, the family court judge approved the adoption and it went ahead.
Allen’s childhood and the abuse she suffered is documented in her autobiography ‘Thrown away Child’ At 15yrs Allen ran away from the family that had adopted her.
Whilst Allen waited to be old enough to go to art school she spent two years self-educating and working as a chambermaid and did local domestic cleaning. She says she ‘organised an exhibition at the library and read the dictionary and ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. She was an undiagnosed dyslexic and missed a considerable amount of schooling. She had been placed in the remedial group throughout the school.
She says “I got into art school by blagging my absence of paper qualifications.”
After leaving Art School with distinctions she taught Art History part-time and worked freelance as a schools artist in residence and fashion illustrator and stylist for TV and magazines.
After twenty years of teaching at the University of Portsmouth, Allen moved to Somerset to write, paint and become a foster carer.
It was Allen’s husband who thought they could become a fostering family, Allen herself was at first reluctant after her own experiences of the care system. Allen and her family have been fostering ever since.
Within the first year of fostering Allen began to seek help and support as the reality of being a foster carer unravelled, she joined the IWGB union just after it formed and worked closely with the then chair Sarah Anderson, she left the IWGB in 2019 and now supports the newly formed National Union for Professional Foster Carers, a government-approved and certified union dedicated solely to foster carers and is supporting the work with central government on the Central Licensing Body and rights for foster carers.
References and links
Sunday Times Bestselling Author
Jacob’s Story – Officers from the RSPCA investigate reports of animal cruelty and neglect on a farm, only to discover a 5-year-old boy curled up asleep in a dog bed, amidst filth and squalor.
He has severe physical and cognitive impairments, and no one outside the family seems to know of the existence of little Jacob.
When he arrives in the Allen household, a terrified Louise wonders how on earth she will cope looking after a child with his level of physical and emotional damage. With the support of veteran social worker, Mary, the fight begins to get Jacob the support he needs – as medical investigations begin to reveal more shocking details about Jacob’s story.
Buy Jacob’s Story here.
How to Adopt a Child – From understanding what adoption is, through to step by step guidance on the entire process and the challenges that come up along the way, this is the only book you will need to read on adoption.
Written by an author who was adopted herself, who has looked after over twenty children and who works for a fostering and adoption agency that deals specifically with breakdowns, this book will teach you how to confidently navigate the system and build a strong and lasting relationship with your child.
Whilst very much being the unvarnished truth, this is an empowering guide that will ensure you feel in control and know where to turn to for help no matter what:
With a positive attitude and the right tools, adopting a child can be very rewarding – don’t try to overthink it, don’t try to love, just do right by them and as you learn about each other the love, kindness and acceptance will grow.
Buy How to Adopt a Child here.
Eden’s Story – Ashley is a young single mum raising her daughter, Eden, and working hard to do the very best job she can – until one night she can’t find a babysitter and makes the decision to leave Eden home alone for a couple of hours, asleep inside a wardrobe. It is an action that begins a terrible downward spiral for both of them.
Abby’s Story – She doesn’t want this baby. She can’t look after this baby. She will never be able to love this baby.
Little Abby’s life begins badly, then just gets worse.
Stella’s Story – ‘Stella is just like a tiny bird. This is my first impression of her. A quiet little sparrow of a girl.’
Named after the lager that christened her at birth, Stella’s life is characterised by instability and neglect. Her teenage mother abandons her in the first few weeks of her life and left in the ‘care’ of her father, she ends up lying deserted in a house with no food, no water, no clothes, and no warmth.
Thrown Away Child – Thrown Away Child is a memoir covering Louise Allen’s abusive childhood in a foster home, how she survived – using her love of art as a sanctuary – and how she hopes to right old wrongs now by fostering children herself and campaigning for the improvement of foster care services. It is a compelling and inspirational story. This book gives a voice to the many children who grew up unhappily in care.
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