Brighton and Hove Fostering Service urgently need to find new foster carers for children aged 10 years and over. These children are at a crucial stage in their lives and just as younger children they still need care and support to help them negotiate through a challenging period in their lives. Teenagers often get a bad press however foster carers of older children say not to be put off by these negative views, their experience of fostering older children is that it is as rewarding if not more so in looking after older children.
The support needs of older children will vary depending upon their family circumstances. Some children may have been in care since they were young and many of these children will not have come into care through any fault of their own.
Most of these children will have had difficulties in their relationships at home and may have been the subject of neglect and abuse. They come from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including unaccompanied minors, whose first language is not English and who may need support and help in adjusting to living in a new country.
Many young people need the stability and security of a foster placement. Their teenage years are an important time in their development and they need a secure and supportive family base from which they can be nurtured and helped prepared for the wider world. The troubles that young people may have experienced mean that most will need help with their self-esteem and confidence. A foster family can provide this and help young people come to terms with the loss and rejection they have suffered.
Some children enter foster care due to a crisis in their relationship with their family and the role of their foster carer(s) is also to support them in trying to resolve their difficulties with their family so that they can return home. Many young people successfully return home or move to live with another member of their wider family after a period of time in foster care, varying between a few weeks to several months.
It is not always possible for some children to return home and in these circumstances, foster carer(s) help young people to prepare for independent living through developing their practical skills, such as budgeting, cooking, etc.
They also support older children in developing plans for their future, such as attending education or finding employment.
Additionally, foster carer(s) also assist teenagers to keep in contact with their family, including siblings and grandparents.
Depending upon the age the child comes into foster care, they may remain living with their foster carer(s) for several years before they move on to live independently.
Young people can make enormous progress whilst in foster care and successfully move onto independence. Many young people appreciate the support they have received from their carers and stay in regular contact with them for many years after leaving foster care.
Brighton and Hove provide foster carers for older children with a high level of support including: