In 2022, the Government reported there were 82,170 children looked after in the UK. Out of this, 25% were over the age of 16, and 39% were aged between the age of 10-15 years old. This means most children and young people in care are teenagers. Often, potential foster carers can be intimidated by the thought of fostering teenagers, however, fostering teenagers can be extremely rewarding. In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits of fostering teenagers and our top tips for supporting teenagers in foster care.
Fostering teenagers can be incredibly rewarding as you prepare your foster child for leaving care, and with most children in foster care over the age of ten, there is a huge demand for foster carers who want to take care of teenagers. There are many benefits of fostering teenagers including:
Without good role models and a stable and loving home teenagers in the care system are vulnerable to leaving the care system without the tools they need for adulthood. This could make them more susceptible to poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse or homelessness after they leave care.
The number one consideration when fostering a teen is caring for them in a thoughtful and compassionate manner. Teenagers in foster care may have experienced a challenging start to life and they need understanding and stability in their lives to prepare them for leaving care and for adulthood.
Providing a safe and supportive environment is essential to teenagers in foster care. Some of the methods of achieving this include:
Showing empathy and understanding demonstrates a level of respect for your foster child, as well as providing them with an example of how to develop healthy relationships with people. Some of the main ways you can be an empathetic and understanding role model for your foster child include:
It’s important to show your support for your foster child to ensure they have the best start in adulthood as possible. This can include:
Another type of fostering that can involve teenagers is parent and child fostering, when a young mother or pregnant teenager who is vulnerable comes to live with you for a short period of time in order to learn the skills needed to meet their own child’s needs. This type of foster care is especially important for young parents who might not have a stable support network and need extra support in learning how to provide care for their own child.
It’s not usually common for a foster child to leave care until they are around 18 years old. But, when they reach their teens, it’s good to start the conversation about what happens when they leave care, to make sure they enter adulthood with all the tools they need to be set up for success.
It’s important to ensure that care leavers don’t feel like they are being left on their own when preparing to leave care, as well as making sure they’re aware of all the support available to them as a care leaver.
The Capstone Care Leavers Trust (CCLT) provides grants to young people aged 17-25 who have been in Local Authority Care and are in need. This includes financial support including study grants, educational support, driving lessons and money for household goods to help your teenager transition to independent living.
Since May 2014, young people in England have the right to stay with their foster families when they reach 18, if both you and your foster child agree. It is designed to support care leavers who may benefit from extending their stay with their foster family.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.