Fostering Teenagers: 10 Reasons You Should Consider It
The UK needs more people who are interested in fostering teenagers . . . But why?
Although the drive is already on to recruit more foster carers in 2016, over 9,000 to be exact, the age group where this is most needed is for older children and teenagers.
To put this into perspective, last year it was reported that almost 38% of all children in foster care were aged between 10 – 15 years old. In addition to this worrying statistic, 22% of all foster placements featured teenagers over the age of 16.
Unfortunately, this appears to be an issue that doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon, as the high numbers of teenagers in foster care has been crippled with the belief that the majority of foster carers are more interested in fostering younger children.
Perhaps it’s the whole ‘teenage thing’ that turns people off the idea of fostering someone of this age group. Either way, teenagers will undoubtedly be teenagers, regardless of whether they’ve experienced foster care or not.
Everyone has the chance to foster a teenager, so here’s our 10 reasons why you should be considering it.
1. Fostering teenagers may actually be easier
At Perpetual Fostering, we regularly bypass the notion that teenagers are more difficult to foster than someone of a younger age, who has presumably experienced less vulnerability in their lifetime.
We know that given the independence of an older child or teenager they will require less reliance on you as their foster parent. You never know, they may even attempt to do their own washing…from time to time.
2. They’re likely to be a crossroads and need your help
We’ve all been teenagers, so we understand how difficult and exciting the world can be at this stage. It’s certainly no different to the situation being faced by the teenagers living in care.
Your influence as a carer may act as the launch pad to the rest of their life. Yes, this may be a daunting prospect, but it’s also a hugely rewarding one too. Whether it’s choosing their GCSE options, or being accepted onto their dream college course, there’s no greater sense of pride in seeing an older foster child achieve what they’ve set out to do.
3. You can teach them vital life skills
Of course you’ll want to provide them with guidance and various maxims, but fostering a teenager can be a little simpler than what you first believe.
From helping them complete their application form for their first part time job, to showing them how to budget their own money, fostering a teenager is not just for the present, it’s setting them up for the rest of their life.
4. Oh, and it won’t be you who’ll be doing the teaching
Unlike foster placements that involve younger children, where it’s highly likely that you’ll be doing the majority of the leading and teaching, older foster children have already gained a level of life experience. Therefore, teenagers may have something to share or offer you as their foster parent.
5. The changes are more visible
We have no doubt you’ll be amazed of how quickly you’ll be able to make a good impression on a teenager’s outlook in life. The differences will visible for all to see.
6. You could be the perfect fit
As one of the UK’s leading foster agencies, we pride ourselves in our unique matching process that puts the needs and the requirements of both foster carer and child first. By doing so, we can help to find the perfect fit for each foster family, leading to more positive placements that blossom into life, as well as a much lower level of placement disruption.
According to a survey carried out by The Guardian, it was reported that around 1 in 20 teenagers living in foster care has been through at least 10 different placements. This shocking statistic certainly highlights the need to attract more people to the world of foster care, especially when it comes to looking after teenagers.
7. The Ideal placements for some foster carers
Although anyone has the opportunity to foster a teenager or older child, as an agency we understand the value that some older, more mature foster carers can bring to teenagers and older children. Your wisdom, experience and knowledge, as well as your ability to listen to their stories, will be indispensable.
Additionally, fostering teenagers is likely to be less physically demanding than looking after younger, less dependent children and young people.
8. You will be supported and rewarded!
Becoming a foster carer is a big step for anyone, so that’s why your desire to be a foster carer is met with the highest level of support and training from our most experienced social workers. The emotional rewards that can be achieved through fostering a teenager are special, very special infact. However, we will ensure that your life as a carer is also supported financially with our competitive foster care allowance.
9. They’re just normal teenagers
We’re all aware of the undeserved, and very much incorrect, stigma attached to teenagers in foster care, but they’re just normal teenagers that require the safety and security of a loving foster family.
10. They need you!
Like all children and young people in foster care, they just need that family or individual who can help make the difference to their life and future prospects. As a country, we do need to recruit more kindhearted and open minded people into care, especially when it comes to fostering teenagers.
Interested in fostering a teenager? Need to find out more information about becoming a foster carer with a leading foster agency? Get in touch with us today!