Yvonne Parkes is in the first year of her PhD at Nottingham Trent University
Yvonne Parkes has been fuelled by a desire to help vulnerable people for many years. Her first role within the caring profession was as a volunteer on a helpline for a national domestic abuse organisation and this led to further employment in a women’s refuge, as a foster carer and to becoming a special guardian.
Initially she believed that higher education was not for someone like her. But a conversation with a friend with a similar background who attended Nottingham Trent University (NTU) changed her mind. Yvonne embarked on an undergraduate degree in social work at the university and was encouraged by her course tutor to stay on to undertake a MRes in Psychological Research Methods which she undertook whilst working as a part-time Research Assistant.
Her master’s dissertation focussed on transgenderism, which inspired her to work with the LGBTQ+ community. Yvonne decided to embark on a PhD at NTU allowing her to help close a gap in knowledge at local and national policy about the experiences of LGBTQ+ Looked After Children. Currently the Office for National Statistics does not collect demographic data on LGBTQ+ Looked After Children, and guidance and legislation currently do not place a duty on social workers to discuss these matters with young people in care. Yvonne hopes her research will ensure these vulnerable young people can access the professional allies they need.