More than half of the country’s foster children are 10 years or older. More than 20% are aged 16 and over. To put this another way, there is a great need for foster families for teenagers.
There is a perception that teenagers are more difficult to parent than younger children. This age group is on the cusp of adulthood. If they have been in care before or for any length of time, being given a new place in a new foster home can be unsettling. They are more apt to question why they are taken from where they have been living and placed in a new home. They are more apt to be uncommunicative.
The emerging sexuality that is part of being a teenager is also a consideration. A worrisome aspect of teenage sexuality is that, compared with young women not in care, young women in care are more than twice as likely to become pregnant before they are 19 years old.
Caring for teenagers can be a challenge for both the carer and the young person who is in care. At this age, teenagers are more apt to have difficulty with trust issues, especially if they have been in care for a while and have been through previous placements. Whether this is their first placement with a foster carer or they have been in care since birth, it can be a very traumatic time. This trauma is often reflected in their behaviour.
The way fostering works is that children are taken into care by local authorities for a variety of reasons with one underlying thing in common. That one thing is that they need a caring home where they will be sheltered from the troubles that caused them to be removed from their families. The troubles can range from violence and abuse to illness and death.
For reasons beyond their control, these young people have had their childhood disrupted and their daily lives altered beyond recognition. Teenagers rely on their friends for their social life and their daily interactions. The peer group is a large influence in the life of a teenager. As safe and loving as a foster home can be, being placed in a new fostering environment means that the teenager is removed from his or her usual surroundings and peer group. In an ideal world, being able to attend the same school and be close to their usual friends may be the best experience for the young person.
In order to provide foster homes to accommodate the best possible care for children and young people, foster agencies such as Capstone Foster Care are always seeking caring foster parents with space, plenty of patience, and the skills to build a relationship with someone who has difficulty trusting others.
Capstone Foster Care has fostering services throughout the UK and we need foster carers. If you are interested in knowing more about this rewarding career, contact us for more information on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here. We provide support and training and actively recruit foster parents who have room in their homes and love in their hearts for teens.