Why fostering teenagers can be so rewarding
To be given the chance to improve the prospects of a child or young person is the main reason why most caring people take the decision to become a foster carer.
And there is no age group where you can see this difference more clearly than when fostering teenagers.
The difference which can be made in a short period of time is often remarkable, and highly visible. For example, witnessing the transformation when a child, who previously had poor school attendance, starts going regularly is fantastic. Not only that but seeing them enjoy going to school without having to worry about what will happen at the end of the school day is so heart warming.
Unfortunately, in the UK there is an undeniable preference for people wanting to foster younger children – to the point where there is a huge shortfall in the number of foster carers available for teenagers.
I’m not entirely sure why this preference exists. It maybe people are worried about the whole teenage angst stage, which all adolescents experience, or that they believe older children will come with more history.
Making a difference
The truth is, however, that it can actually be easier to foster a teenager than a younger child as they are less dependent on their carers. Older children can get to school and back on their own, for instance.
It can also be very straight forward to make a big difference to their life, as it can simply be about meeting their basics needs – providing food and shelter, giving them nurturing care and having clear and consistent boundaries.
You will want to increase their feeling of self-worth, of course, but listening is the key. If you are a good listener you may be just what a teenager needs. By just being there for them, it is amazing how quickly things can turn around. And that can be a tremendously exciting thing to see.
Support is always available
If you have ever thought about fostering but have concerns about teenagers then it is worth pointing out that comprehensive support is available when you foster through Perpetual Fostering.
Our social workers stay in regular contact with all foster carers throughout the journey of the teenager placed within their care and we are also only ever a phone call away. This support is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If foster carers feel they need additional support out of hours we can also come out to the home, and provide respite if they ever feel they need a breather.
Advice and guidance in regards to the education and health is also available through our virtual head teacher and registered nurse.
Could you foster a teenager?
There are 38,000 children over the age of 10 in the foster care system and they desperately need people to open up their homes to help improve their prospects in life.
If you want to make a difference or have some questions, why not talk them through with our team and find out more about the support available to you. You can contact us by sending a message via our website or by calling us directly on 0845 0740076.