A FOSTER carer from Chard is starting 2018 as a published author with the launch of her inspirational memoir.

Louise Allen, who lived in care during the 1970s, has written about her harrowing childhood and why it led her to foster caring with Somerset County Council.

After overcoming cruelty, terrible neglect and lack of education, Louise found sanctuary in her love of art.

She has since enjoyed a successful career in art and academia, gained two post-graduate qualifications, and launched her new book, Thrown Away Child’, on Thursday, December 28.

Due to her own traumatic experience in foster care, Louise is an ardent champion of quality foster caring today and improving outcomes for young people.

Louise transferred from a private fostering agency to foster with SCC and very much enjoys her role.

Louise said: “I am passionate about providing dedicated foster care for children in Somerset and supporting their education.

“It is vital to help children in care achieve their potential and I find my part in that hugely rewarding.

“I urge anyone who is considering fostering to get in touch with SCC as your efforts will make a huge difference to children’s lives.”

The book launch coincided with the start of Louise’s new campaign, ‘Looking After ‘Looked After’ Children’.

Louise firmly believes there is hope for all children who have been abused, and that a damaged childhood need not define a person as an adult if you receive the right care and encouragement.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, cabinet member for children and families at SCC, said: “On behalf of the fostering team at SCC, I congratulate Louise on her success.

“We are very proud to have her as one of our foster carers and she is an ambassador for the excellent work they do.

“We are so grateful to the foster carers we have, but we always need more.

“If you are over 21 with a spare room and genuinely want to make a difference to a child’s life, contact us and find out what Somerset County Council can offer.”