Challenges and Benefits of Fostering Teenagers
Fostering a teenager can be very difficult but has its own rewards
Fostering teenagers can be very difficult and problematic most of the times. Most of the foster carers or families are not willing to take in a teenager in their home because of difficult management of the task. Indeed, teenagers are also children and they have a right to a foster home just like other children. This article tells the story of Caitlin Marshall, who is a foster child and now a student at Kirklees College.
Read the complete article to learn about the problems teenage foster children encounter!
CAITLIN Marshall was taken into care aged 14 and lived with a succession of foster families.
“For me, going into care was inevitable,” she says. “Visits from social services had become a way of life. But when the day finally came it was a shock and for a long time after I kept having to ask myself: ‘Is this real?'”
After several short-term placements, Caitlin went to live with Viv and Martin Senior. Now Caitlin, 17, and Viv have appeared in a video aimed at finding more foster families for teenagers.
Called Foster Me, it’s part of a Kirklees Council and Leeds City Council partnership and provides an insight into the challenges, misconceptions and rewards that come from fostering older youngsters.
Paul Johnson, Kirklees Council’s Assistant Director – Family Support and Child Protection, said both locally and nationally, there’s a chronic shortage of foster families for teenagers and they remain one of the hardest groups to find families for. In the last six months, Kirklees has had 26 new cases of teenagers entering its care system and it will need at least 30 new foster carers over the next 12 months to meet demand.
Caitlin, who spent some of her childhood, in Mirfield, says: “In some respects being taken into care as an older child was worse; I knew exactly what was happening. I knew things were difficult at home yet somehow I believed I’d be going back. The realisation that I couldn’t go back was something I had to come to terms with.
“I knew pretty much straight away that I wanted to stay with Viv and Martin.”
Caitlin is now at Kirklees College studying for a B-tech in health and social care and hopes to work in the mental health sector. She’s also involved with the Children in Care Council, giving youngsters a voice about care issues.
Caitlin admits there have been challenges. “I’d been used to doing what I wanted, I’d come and go as I pleased. Now there are boundaries,” she says. “That said, before going into care my life had no direction. I skipped school and my grades suffered. Now I’ve matured and feel I’m able to get somewhere.”
Author: Emma Clayton
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