Carers for teenagers in foster care
Older children’s support needs will vary depending upon their family circumstances. Some children will have been in care since they were young through no fault of their own.
Most of these young people will have had difficult relationships at home and may have been subject to neglect and abuse. They come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, including unaccompanied minors whose first language is not English. They will need support and help to adjust to living in a new country.
The stability and security offered to these young people by a foster placement is important. The teenage years are a time when many young people need a secure and supportive family base to help them prepare for the wider world. Troubles that young people may have experienced mean that they will need help with their self-esteem and confidence. A foster family can provide this. You can help young people come to terms with what they have experienced, for example rejection and loss.
Some young people enter foster care as a result of a crisis in their relationship with their family. The role of the foster carer is to support these young people and help them to resolve their difficulties with their family. This will enable them to successfully return home. There are many young people who return home or move to live with another family member after a period of time in care.
Some young people will be unable to return home. In these circumstances, it is the foster carer’s role to prepare them for independent living by helping them to develop their practical skills such as cooking and budgeting. Foster carers also support teenagers in developing plans for the future by encouraging education attendance and helping them to find employment.
Foster carers also help teenagers keep in contact with their family, including siblings and grandparents.
Young people can make fantastic progress while in foster care. They can successfully move on to independence, apprenticeships or university. Many appreciate the support they receive from their carers and stay in contact with them for many years.