Could you foster a teenager?

Many people have pre-conceived ideas about what fostering teenagers is like, some think they might be difficult to control or that they’ll be too much trouble. It’s true that most of the children in care have had various problems, but that’s not the same thing as being badly behaved. Some have been the victim of neglect and abuse and others have had to go into care because a parent has died or has had to go into hospital.

Fostering teenagers isn't without its challenges. Unsurprisingly, they tend to want to make sense of what's happened to them which often means foster carers end up being a sounding board for their frustrations. Some struggle to get used to having boundaries, because they’ve never had this before. There are many positives to fostering teenagers, our foster carers tell us that if you invest time in these young people, listen to them, support and encourage them, in time you can build good relationships and really help them turn their lives around.

Watch this video to hear first-hand what it’s like fostering teenagers – hear from our teenagers and their foster carers. To find out more contact us for an informal chat.

About some of the teenagers who need fostering

Almost 15 teenagers in Kirklees are currently in temporary placements waiting to find a stable foster family to care for them. Here's some information about just some of the teenagers to give you a little insight in to who they are and what they're like. Could you be the difference they're looking for?

Lisa

Fashion and music-savvy Lisa is a quiet 15 year old girl who is very family orientated.

A pleasant child, Lisa likes spending time at her local youth club and taking her current carer's dog for walks. She's the kind of person who will give most things a try and has engaged in a number of activities, such as majorettes and dancing, but needs help maintaining interest.

Lisa experienced a lot changes during her early years and lived with various family members until she was placed into care at the age of 11.

She has a borderline learning disability and this, along with past experiences, means she is somewhat behind her peers at school, though she always strives to do her best.

In the past Lisa has demonstrated some challenging behaviour but this has settled down considerably. She needs an understanding, nurturing carer or carers who can set clear boundaries and provide her with the guidance she needs until she is ready to live independently.

Florence

14-year old Florence is a bubby, outgoing girl, who likes being out and about and experiencing new things.

Florence often prefers the company of others and would like a carer or carers, with whom she can develop a relationship and do things together, such as shopping, painting nails and watching films. As a ‘girly’ girl, she likes to wear fashionable clothes and despite having to wear paediatric boots to aid with her walking she can wear other shoes for short periods.

Like many teenagers her age, Florence is into Vampires Diaries and the supernatural. She loves to watch TV, listen to music, and trips out to new places. She also enjoys swimming, dancing and after school activities.

Florence wants to be liked and loved. She wants to be popular and have friends, and most of all, to fit in. Sadly, despite doing well at school, Florence can be vulnerable to being exploited by groups of peers and has been the victim of bullying. It is therefore in Florence's best interests to have a fresh start at a new school where she can make new friends.

She is in good health, but needs some guidance with her diet. On an emotional level she is able to express herself, even about things that upset her. Florence does however suffer from a psychological condition which means she needs to be reminded about things such as cleanliness.

Her carer(s) would need to give her the love and guidance she needs until she is able to look after herself. She would benefit from someone with a sensitive, nurturing manner, who can work with her to help develop her social skills, which aren't at the level of her peers, so that she can discover who she is.

Hannah

13 year-old Hannah is a creative, bright young girl who has fitted in well with her foster carers despite a difficult start to life.

She has many interests such as knitting, jigsaws and generally just making things. She attends several clubs and groups and enjoys being active and riding her bike. As a Christian she also attends church.

Hannah has had some counselling in the past but apart from mild eczema and recent dental treatment, she is in good general health. She has come a long way since she came into care and is regarded as a bright, creative pupil, who responds well to boundaries and routines.

Sienna

Self-confessed ‘EMO’ and arts-and-crafts enthusiast, Sienna, is a quiet, polite 14-year old. Described as being ‘deep’, she enjoys experimenting with make-up and her appearance.

Sienna is currently in an emergency foster placement, where she has settled in well and likes the changing nature of having different young people coming and going.

She is in good general health but has suffered a lot of upheaval, including bereavement, during her short life. As a result she becomes anxious so needs an understanding foster carer or carers she can trust. At school she has benefitted from the support of professionals and has a good relationship with staff so it is important that she can continue going to her school.

Tim

14-year old Tim is a very bright, articulate young person, who has a broad knowledge in most subjects. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, is always eager to please and he gets on well with adults and children alike. With younger children he likes to engage with them and pass on his learnt experiences.

Tim is a friendly young person with a good sense of humour. He likes seeing the funny side of things and often seeks out jokes to share. He also enjoys Minecraft and playing on his X-Box, as well as skateboarding, riding his bike, trampolining and swimming.

On first meeting Tim many will find him a charming and engaging young person but he can become very loud and easily excited. However he can also be quiet and thoughtful when he has things on his mind.

Tim would like to live in a family environment where he can express his views and be given time to accept the views of others. He needs his carers to be consistent and demonstrate boundaries that he can easily understand. His carers would also need to have some understanding of attachment and bereavement issues – we will provide full training as needed for prospective carers in these areas.

Tim needs the opportunity to be kept active in both mind and body. His school has been one of the stabilising factors in his life so it is in his best interests to remain there. With 100% attendance, Tim works hard and is receiving support for his dyslexia.

Toby

Despite a difficult start to life 15 year-old Toby is much like any other teenage boy.

He has a good sense of humour and is kind and caring towards those he’s close to. He enjoys going shopping and eating out with his many friends, as well as having people round to play on his X-box. He’s very helpful around the house and likes to help with chores, including tidying his bedroom.

Toby is looking for a foster family with whom he can spend quality time, doing the activities he enjoys, such as watching movies and going for days out.

Toby is fair in his reasoning and approach. However he tends to disengage if he doesn’t agree with what he’s being asked to do and goes for a walk if he becomes emotional, which helps him to settle down.

At school Toby’s attendance is good and he is doing very well in all areas.