SELECTED ARTICLE
Author
Joe Webb 
Article Title
Fostering teenagers in the UK 
Posted Date
4/2/2010 

Teenagers need positive adult role models to guide them and to show them the benefits of becoming responsible and happy adults. Teenage years are often difficult ones, when young people are learning to stand on their own two feet and testing out their boundaries.

For a young person who has had distressing experiences during their upbringing this time can be especially hard. It’s also a critical time in their development, when the choices they make are likely to have a major impact on their future. Teenage children are self interested, they are absorbed in their own development and finding ways of meeting their immediate needs. Teenagers have to contend with the feelings and consequences of their changing bodies and their ever changing relationships. Teenagers in foster care often have very challenging behaviours because of their past experiences and they need foster carers who can manage their behaviour and give them the opportunity to feel good about themselves and their future. Teenagers often respond to difficulties in their lives by becoming both defensive and unreasonable, they feel sorry for themselves and are often difficult to communicate with on a reasonable level.

Children who need to be looked after by foster carers have also been let down by their carers, often many times which limits their ability to trust and therefore they need adults who can share their insight, provide guidance and encouragement in a safe, educational and caring environment. Across the UK there is an urgent need for new foster carers with the potential to look after teenage children.

Teenagers need people in their lives who are caring, patient and understanding people however, foster carers for teenagers need particular skills to carry out what can be a very varied and challenging job and these people need to: have previous experience of working with young people provide a young person with their own bedroom enjoy working with teenagers be flexible be able to work with others as a member of a team have good negotiation skills be able to act as an advocate have some writing skills be able to carry out agreed plans be committed to training have a sense of humour!

As a foster carer for teenagers, you will need to be sensitive to their situation, patient, tolerant and understanding. It can be very challenging, but there are also great rewards in drawing on your own abilities to help a young person develop confidence in themselves, resolve their problems and make plans for the future. Fostering teenagers carries the inevitable challenges, but the rewards can outweigh the difficult times. Seeing a young person fulfil their potential and find their way to a brighter future due to a foster carers hard work can be deeply satisfying. Fostering relationships often last lifetimes, teenage foster children and their partners becoming welcome visitors in later years.

Fostering can be a demanding task. Foster carers certainly need good health, an understanding of the difficulties faced by parents and a commitment to the welfare of children which is shared and supported by all family members. It is of paramount importance to choose the right fostering agency, there are over seven hundred in the UK. Simply Fostering, the UK national foster carer recruitment web site provides help by answering questions and identifying the most suitable local fostering agencies with vacancies. Simply Fostering help people interested in becoming foster carers to act on the Government's advice to 'contact more than one Fostering Agency if you are interested in a fostering career'. For comprehensive and easy to understand information, help and advice, contact Annette or Joe at Simply Fostering .

References
Joe is a friend of http://www.simplyfostering.co.uk 
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