The Problems Teenager Foster Children Face
It is very important that teenagers also get good foster care
In the UK, every year, around 100,000 children and young people stay in the care system. Majority of these persons go to live with foster families. A few of those ones return to their own families, some move on to their adult life, some move in with other family members and only a small portion of them carry on to the path of adoption. It is therefore, very important that fostering services find the best, long-term home for each child every time because moving too much can also affect the psychology of the child quite badly.
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Fostering services throughout the UK are struggling to find enough foster carers for teenagers.
Teenagers are too often placed with foster carers who live far from their families, friends and schools and are being split up from their siblings. Some are being placed with foster carers who are outside their comfort zone – and more importantly their skills and abilities – in caring for teens. And others are being squeezed in where there’s a short-term gap rather than being found the right long-term home.
All of these approaches put pressure on a placement, and can strain the relationship between a young person and the foster family. And placements can all too often breakdown as a result, causing further instability and disruption in the young person’s life.
So what can be done? Well, clearly, one answer is to recruit more foster carers for teenagers. An obvious barrier is the perception that teenagers can be challenging to look after, with many people preferring to offer homes to younger children. That’s why we are supporting fostering services to help them target their recruitment towards those who are already working with teenagers – youth workers and teachers for example – as well as thinking about the messaging that is being used, to try to appeal to those who might thrive on the challenge.
Some fostering services are looking at how they can work with existing foster carers who currently foster younger children, to build on their skills and confidence and encourage them to think about fostering teens.
Author: Kevin Williams
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