#FCF2015 Issue of the Day: The Plight of Teenagers in Care
The Fostering Network has today revealed the results of a survey into the experience of teenagers in foster care in the UK, to coincide with the launch of Foster Care Fortnight 2015. And sadly, it doesn't make for very pleasant reading.
The survey, covering over 1,600 fostered children reveals that:
- Two in five (40%) fostered teenagers are already living with their 3rd family since coming into care
- One in four (25%) are living with at least their 4th foster family
- One in six (17%) are living with at least their 5th family in care
- A horrifying one in twenty (5%) are living with at least their 10th family in care
Being moved from home to home can have a hugely detrimental effect on children’s education, wellbeing and ability to make and maintain relationships. Not being able to find the right foster carer also means that children too often have to live a long way from family, friends and school and are split up from their brothers and sisters. Finding the right foster carer, at the outset of a child’s journey in care, can lead to stability, improved relationships and a positive experience of childhood.
Foster Homes for Teenagers Urgently Needed
Unfortunately, we see every day just how many potential and new foster carers are daunted by the prospect of fostering teens, preferring instead to foster under 12s. This means there are fewer foster homes available for teenagers and as a result it is harder to find the right family first time around. Foster carers' concerns aren't entirely unfounded - fostering teenagers can be extremely challenging. But as with so many things in life, the greater the challenge, the greater the reward, as Cindy, a foster carer who has fostered teenagers for three years, has experienced:
“When we were asked what our preference would be when we started fostering, I replied, a young person who needs a family. We found ourselves gravitating towards teenagers because all young people face challenges, but I find the teenagers more independent thinking and engaging, and navigating through the teenage years is bumpy but great fun. I have enjoyed shopping, listening to music, and going to theme parks. Fostering teenagers means we never get to grow old. Life is so much more fun having them in our life, and we learn as much from them as they learn from us.”
Could You Foster a Teenager?
It is estimated that over 8,000 new foster carers are needed this year, and the sad truth is that a disproprtionate amount of children in need of a foster family are teenagers. Family Fostercare offer a specific program of training and support for new foster carers wishing to foster teenagers, and for experienced foster carers who would like to move in that direction. If you feel you have the skills, patience and passion to look after teenagers and the committment and resilience to be there for them even when the road gets bumpy, then we would love to hear from you today.
Call us on 0800 321 3230 or use our online application form to find out more about fostering teenagers with Family Fostercare.