What fostering teenagers is like, and what skills and qualities you’ll need to be a good foster carer for them.
Misconceptions around fostering teenagers could leave them without the support of a loving home, care and attention. Fostered teenagers are just like any teenagers. They might try to push the boundaries and make some mistakes – just like many of us did in the past.
As a foster carer, you could offer a teenager support that makes a real impact, being there for them, listening to their problems and helping them find a solution. You will play a key role in developing their independence and confidence for the future.
Anne, long term carer for teenagers said:
“Naturally, you will have your ups and downs but what matters more is the rewards this experience brings you. We have learnt a great deal about ourselves - how to best respond to different situations and, over time, how to guide someone else through life so they can do well.
“We haven’t got children of our own and we were worried that we would find it difficult to foster teenagers. The reality was very different – we were all teenagers once so, we could relate to some of their behaviours and situations they were experiencing.
“One of the best things about fostering teens is their growing independence. Together you can work on developing practical skills they will need later in life.”
Ways you can support a teenager in your care
As a foster carer for a teenager, you will:
- encourage them to be independent and to behave responsibly
- recognise that teenagers are risk-takers and need to make mistakes to learn
- support them when they do make mistakes but also set and keep boundaries
- help them build up their self–esteem
- help them stay safe and informed about relationships, personal safety, drugs and other social situations that are important in this age range
- encourage their aspirations and education
- help them get through school, find work and move towards independence
- be there for them, be their advocate, and be ready to listen when they are ready to talk
Martyna, a young care leaver, speaks about her experiences growing up in foster care and how the support of her foster carers changed her life.
How we will support you
We know that regular, relevant training and support for new and existing foster carers is essential.
When you join Bristol’s fostering network, you will:
- receive ongoing training, so you can learn more about fostering, and build your fostering skills
- have a dedicated social worker to guide you through the application process, and help you throughout your placement
- join a network of existing foster carers in the city who will be there to give you advice, support and encouragement
- get financial support, towards essential items like a computer for schoolwork, so you don’t need to worry about covering some of the basic costs
- build a special relationship with a young person, which can easily be one of the most rewarding experiences for both you and them
Who can foster teenagers
Our foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnic groups.
Your age, gender, whether you own a home or not, is not important – it’s what you can offer a young person that counts.
What they need the most is people who can give them a safe and stable home where they are supported, encouraged and listened to.
Existing foster carers
If you are an existing foster carer who currently fosters younger children, we can help build your skills and confidence to foster teenagers.
For teenagers with complex needs, we are piloting an intensive therapeutic support programme that has already shown success with younger children. For carers with fostering experience, this may be an option with some additional training and an enhanced fee.
Take the leap and become a foster carer
We know you’ll have lots of questions and that’s ok! We’ll support you every step of the way.
If you have any questions and would like to chat through your concerns, call our fostering team on 0117 3534200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also complete the contact form.
Elsewhere on the web
- Calls for more carers to foster teenagers in Bristol (Bristol City Council newsroom) Go to https://news.bristol.gov.uk/news/council-calls-for-more-carers-to-foster-teenagers-in-bristol (opens new window)
- Teens aren't terrible, they're just like we were (The Bristol Mayor - Marvin Rees' blog) Go to https://thebristolmayor.com/2020/08/26/teens-arent-terrible-theyre-just-like-we-were/ (opens new window)