Inspire a future for teenagers

15 July 2020

Foster4 - Cheshire West and Chester Council’s foster carer recruitment service is launching a new campaign to encourage local people to be foster carers, in particular to foster older children and teenagers.

Many people won’t consider the idea of fostering teenagers because of the negative public image associated with them. They may be seen as aggressive, noisy and uncooperative. But a brash exterior often hides feeling of insecurity, fear and confusion. As a result of these misconceptions, many individuals who could provide a young person with a nurturing home are deterred from fostering teenagers.

Foster4 want to highlight the positive benefits of caring for older children and will aim to encourage those interested in fostering, to specifically consider this age group.

Margaret is a single foster carer, now retired from work, living in Winsford, and has been fostering for three years, having specifically enquired with a view to fostering teenagers. Margaret, a former mental health nurse with a background in training, found a real connection with teenagers when she took over a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) when working at a local college.  Whilst working with young people on the YTS scheme, Margaret enjoyed guiding young people to help them unleash their true potential. Having previous experience with this age group, she was then inspired to pursue becoming a foster carer. 

Margaret said: “I find the teenage years to be fascinating and interesting as you see a child develop toward adulthood. The teenager I foster is nearly 16 years old now. It has been amazing to see him grow and develop, and to help influence his life in such a positive way. Teenagers are often perceived to be difficult or demanding but in my experience it is about building rapport and mutual respect with someone.

"He has been brilliant during the lockdown, even though he hasn’t been able to go outside and mix with his friends. I was worried that it might affect his mental health as he really enjoys being outdoors, but he has shown me how resilient he is, as well as being a kind and thoughtful young man.”

Margaret goes onto say “The trauma informed training course I did with Foster4 was brilliant and not only helped me to understand and communicate better with the young person, but also taught me to check my own behaviour, addressing issues more calmly and sensitively.

"I really enjoy being a foster carer, it has taught me patience and not to take anything for granted. If you like children you will love fostering.”

Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “Foster carers like Margaret are so important in helping to nurture, guide and support children who may not have had the best start in life. We need new carers to come forward who, in particular, can support older children and be a positive influence in their lives.

“Foster carers play such a valuable role in our borough and we’d love to encourage even more people to consider taking their next steps into fostering. There is fantastic support and training to help them too, so I would urge anyone interested to get in touch with the Foster4 team”.

Councillor Margaret Parker, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s member of Foster4 said: “The young people in our care are often the group that need the most support as they develop and get ready for adulthood. Providing them with a loving and stable home in the local area can really help set them up to get the best start in life.

“The Foster4 website has lots of information about the process of becoming a foster carer and the knowledgeable team will be able to answer any questions you might have about fostering with your local authority. If you have been considering fostering and think you could help a young person in need please get in contact.” 

Have you been spending more time at home with your own teenage children during the coronavirus pandemic? Has it made you realise how rewarding it can be? If you, or anyone you know, is interested in fostering older children or teenagers and you would like the opportunity to be there for those children that have not had positive or fulfilling relationships in their lives, you can find out more about fostering on the Foster4 website.

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