Fostering teens

With two-thirds of children in care in England over 10, Buckinghamshire Council is asking people to consider whether fostering a teenager may be for them.

Anyone interested is invited to find out more about fostering with the council on social media and at a special teen-focused information event in September.

Joseph Baum, the council’s deputy cabinet member for children’s services & education said: ‘When it comes to fostering, teens can sadly get overlooked in favour of younger children, due to the preconception that a teenager will be more difficult to care for.
‘Often, however, their age, maturity and increased independence can make caring for this vulnerable age group easier and more fulfilling.

‘This age can be a particularly good match if you work. But ultimately, fostering a teenager can make a huge difference to their future – it provides them with opportunities to learn vital skills before adulthood.’

Steve (pictured) and his wife have been fostering all ages of children with the council for the past seven years. They went into fostering when their own children were in their 20s and they were approaching the empty nest stage of life, but others foster with younger children in the household, too.

The couple said: ‘The teens, you don’t have to pick them up and carry them or put them in car seats or whatever.

‘And, you know, it’s more about helping them and being a mentor and advisor and a parent figure rather than some of the practical stuff.

‘So, we sit down, and we talk about how they manage friendships, how they manage money, how they manage homework and what GCSEs or A-levels or what university course they want to go to, and that’s rewarding.

‘One of the things we’ve really noticed is you can make a huge difference. You know you can give them some advice and they take it on board and then they change.

‘Seeing their confidence grow, and you’re proud of their achievements. You feel like it’s like your own children getting exam results.

‘It’s just great seeing them having new experiences, just like standing on a pebble beach, throwing stones into the windy sea, and seeing the waves coming out there. It’s normal childhood experiences, but they’ve never done it before. So, to share that is special.

‘Matching is really, really important, but as long as the matching is right, it doesn’t have to be difficult.’

Find out more:
Follow @FosterBucks on Facebook, or try out the FosteringReady tool which helps people to find out more and create a personalised plan.