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Foster Care Fortnight - Foster a teenager

Young people in care have been sharing their thoughts on what makes a good foster carer as Wiltshire Council launches a new campaign to encourage more people to consider fostering.

Published 5 May 2021
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Young people in care have been sharing their thoughts on what makes a good foster carer as Wiltshire Council launches a new campaign to encourage more people to consider fostering.

Foster Care Fortnight begins on 10 May and this year Wiltshire is asking residents to consider fostering older children aged 11 - 18 years to help meet a need. The latest campaign is part of a wider three-year drive which started in 2020 to recruit 100 foster carers in Wiltshire. Foster carers and children in care will share their thoughts on social media throughout the fortnight, providing an insight into how fostering teenagers helps the young person but also how it is rewarding for the carer.

Zac, Chantel, Sam and Jake have shared their thoughts on how important it is to learn life skills such as cooking, coping with emotions and growing up with support around you.

Zac explains what makes a good foster carer: "Someone to help me understand what has happened and to be sensitive, someone who will build a relationship so I can trust them, someone you just share with."

Sam added: "I believe a great foster carer needs to be supportive, loving, caring, and to not give up on anyone if they have had a difficult start in life which may have impacted on the way they behave or come across."

Jake said: "I would want anyone to have a foster placement like mine where I was treated as family by my foster carers and by their family too."

Chantel explains: "It's nice to be able to say about love and call them mum and dad. It took me nearly a year to call them mum and dad. It was a big step."

Foster carer Sherly explains how rewarding fostering teenagers can be: "Fostering a teenager can be quite challenging and tricky but it's not always like that. Try to be in their world to understand them better. Sometimes they are like Russian dolls, all closed up to protect themselves but slowly we can help them with the right communication and listening to keep them calm, positive and focussed. The reward to fostering is when the young person feels they are accepted and listened to and they feel more confidence, feeling safe and comfortable and the house is their house.

"Fostering teenagers is the same thing as a family with a teenager, surely there is some bumps along the way but we get great support from our social workers and we are never left alone. Fostering is the best decision that we ever made for our family - it's really changed our lives. " You can watch Sherly's reflections on being a foster carer (opens new window).

Paul who has been fostering for eight years said: "At the end of most days we do a couple of diary notes, just of things that have happened during the day. Fostering teenagers is fantastic, it's very rewarding, you get a lot more out of it than you put in and you really do feel like you make a difference." 

Lucy Townsend, Corporate Director for People at Wiltshire Council said: "I want to thank all our foster carers who do such an incredible job every day making that positive difference to a young person's life. We know there are people thinking whether they could make that step to become a foster carer and I would say please come forward now as we will be here ready to support you every step of the way. You will be sharing your home with a young person who needs that support at a point in their lives when they need that help the most.

"Your influence could make such a difference - we know because we have many foster carers who can attest to this. We will be here ready to support you every step of the way."

To foster, you need to be aged 21 or over and have a spare bedroom. People can find out more by going to Fostering Wiltshire (opens new window).

Wiltshire Council is holding an online information session (opens new window) on Tuesday 25 May from 7:30pm. People can hear directly from the fostering team, and from a foster carer who explains their journey in fostering.

There will also be two Facebook and Twitter Live Q&A Sessions on Friday 14 May and Friday 21 May from 10am to 12 noon on the Fostering Facebook page (FosteringinWiltshire) and Twitter (@fosterwilts), Sarah from the Kinship and Fostering Team will be ready to answer any questions posted to FosteringinWiltshire and @fosterwilts during that time.

Foster Care Fortnight (opens new window) is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of fostering and to celebrate the fostering community. This year's theme is #WhyWeCare.

People who foster with Wiltshire Council are given training and continued support. Payments reflect the commitment carers are making to the role. They are different fostering schemes available ranging from £350 to £650 a week depending on people's skills, experience and the type of support the young person requires.

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