Angus Council has launched an urgent appeal for foster carers to come forward and provide homes for the growing number of teenagers coming into care.
More than half the young people placed in foster homes in the Angus area are over the age of 12. Angus Council currently has a number of teenagers in the 13-18 age group ready to be placed with families, many of them 14 and 15 year old girls.
According to Lindsey Foreman, fostering team manager, proper care during this critical stage can be critical: “A foster carer can make a tremendous difference to the life of a teenager”.
“Teenage years can be difficult for anyone, but for a young person who has gone through particularly distressing experiences at home, it can be especially unsettling. This is a critical stage in their lives and without appropriate guidance and support, there is a risk young people might get into behaviour and lifestyles that could seriously affect their future.
“Young people need foster carers who are able to provide nurturing care within fair and clear boundaries. They also want the adults who care for them to communicate clearly, be able to negotiate with them and deal calmly with any conflicts and problems which arise.”
All parents have to have an abundance of patience, tolerance and understanding and it’s no different for foster carers. “It can be very challenging, but there are also great rewards in drawing on your abilities to help a young person develop confidence in themselves, resolve their problems and make plans for the future”, said Lindsey.
“Many foster carers find that sticking with a child through the difficult times and seeing them gradually develop a positive feeling about themselves is one of the most rewarding things about fostering.”
Many people fail to consider themselves as potential foster carers because of a number of myths and misconceptions circulating. However, fostering is not limited to heterosexual couples. Same sex couples and single people can foster too. Similarly, foster carers don’t have to own their own homes – although they must have a spare bedroom. Many foster carers live in rented accommodation. To become a foster carer you must be at least 21 years old, be in reasonably good health and be medically fit to undertake the parenting task. If you drink alcohol, it must be moderately and responsibly, and you must not use illegal drugs or have a record of offences against children.
Foster carers come from all walks of life. Prior experience as a carer is not an essential requirement but those interested should be able to demonstrate the ability to care for a child or young person. Full training and round-the-clock support is offered and foster carers are paid a competitive fostering fee.
One foster carer who has cared for teenagers for over 20 years said: “It isn’t any more difficult than caring for the younger ones. It’s just different with different types of problems. But there’s also lots of fun and lots of laughter.”
Foster carers are being sought from throughout the district, from Arbroath, Brechin, Forfar and Montrose. To find out more about fostering in Angus, contact email@example.com or visit the website at www.fosteringandadoption.angus.gov.uk/ or the Angus Council Fostering and Adoption Facebook page
Picture credit FreeImages.com/SanjaJgenero