When we think about fostering, they often think of young children, but the largest group needing placements are actually children and teenagers aged 10-15. Unfortunately this age group is often the hardest to place in secure foster homes. Some children may have had a troubled early start in life, however there are also a number of children who only go into care during their teens due to their parents no longer being able to look after them, for example due to illness.
Often they have been mislabelled as “bad” but the reality is, they are just normal children, like any other teenager. They need love and the support of a trusted, solid relationship with family.
In addition many LGBT teenagers in care, believe they would benefit from living in a gay, lesbian or gay friendly household, who would accept them for being themselves.
Here are the top 10 reasons foster parents and foster teens gave for why they thought you should consider opening your hearts and homes to fostering teens. These are their answers.
- We aren’t in nappies
- We sleep through the night.
- Teens are easier to reason with. They are easier to have grown-up conversations with – ranging from some current event in the news to why a visit isn’t going to happen. Where you may need to dance around sensitive issues that a younger child may not be ready to digest, teens – for the most part – you’re able to just talk with them.
- Teens get more involved in independent, outside-the-home activities – primarily extracurricular activities at school, and work. Yes, that can mean you’re doing more driving around, but it also means that you’re getting a couple hours of “break” here and there.
- Teens can be helpful around the home. Mowing, vacuuming, cooking, even transporting or tutoring younger siblings.
- You get to teach them the fun stuff that they will use the rest of their life, like driving, budgeting, cooking, and cleaning.
- You don’t need to find a babysitter for us or send us to daycare.
- You have the opportunity to form a lifelong friendship.
- You have the ability to help a teen gain their independence and start their adult life on a positive note.
- Each and every one of them has taught us something new about ourselves.
All children need someone to look up to, regardless of how old they are. It is a great feeling to think that you might be part of the reason this young person goes to college or achieves their dreams.