There are over 60,000 children living with foster families in the UK, a percentage of which are teenagers. For older children, foster care can be a largely positive experience and, if placed with the right family, will give them a solid foundation for stepping into adulthood. Here’s how foster care can benefit older children, and why they need it just as much as babies and young kids.
The Increased Risk Factors
The hard truth is that teenagers who have existed in the foster care network from a young age are more at risk. These risks include things like homelessness, addiction, abuse, and unemployment. The four factors listed here alone are enough to show why teens need a solid, safe environment to thrive in. This is what foster care aims to provide, and in lots of cases, it is entirely successful at doing just that. Committed carers can lead the way towards a different future and ensure that the teens in their homes have the opportunity to explore every path available to them while also giving them a safe anchor to jump off.
Teenagers are at a pivotal moment in their lives where their development can go in a number of directions. While their brain is ultimately rewiring, this is influenced heavily by their surroundings and support network. If they have access to a safe adult, a stable home environment, and someone to advocate for them along the way, they are more likely to be able to handle the emotional side of what they are going through.
This means they will also be empowered to tackle the big stuff alongside the trivial things that come and go too. Teens will be mature enough to understand the impact of what being in care means for them, and living with a carer means they will have access to a range of support from their agency like orangegrovefostercare.co.uk too. This opens up the door for therapeutic intervention and advanced EHC plans in educational settings, which contributes to building a far better foundation.
One thing that all young people on the precipice of adulthood crave is independence and freedom. In order for this to be sustainable, healthy, and positive, it must come from a safe place. Foster carers have the unique opportunity here to ensure that when independence comes calling, there are enough scaffolding measures in place to support it in the best possible way. Every teenager wants to push boundaries and overstep the mark, but this is all a part of the journey. It is the mindset, attitude, and behaviour of their core adults that make or break this pivotal moment. Having the support of someone who will help them set boundaries in both personal and professional relationships, stop and think before diving in, and learn how to use their voice is an incredible thing. It must never be underestimated.
Teenagers in foster care need a different type of support. There will be big questions to answer, emotional journeys to work through, and pivotal moments to connect with. Foster carers can have a major impact on the outcome.