Linda, 68, lives in Gloucester and has been fostering for Gloucestershire County Council since 2014. She has cared for children of different ages but now finds caring for teenagers particularly rewarding.
"I have been a foster carer for more than 15 years. In that time I have fostered many young people aged from 4 to 18 years. I am passionate about fostering and find fostering teenagers most rewarding.
Teenagers are looking to their future and need help and support when taking exams, looking for work and learning independent living skills. Each one needs different amounts of my time to help with these skills.
At one time I fostered three teenage girls, two aged 16 and one aged 15 years. They were all so different and as I am a single carer, I had to make sure each one had my time when they needed help and support with their own personal needs. Each one had individual challenges to cope with and this could become challenging as they did not always get on. I made sure they knew I would be there for them whenever they needed to talk.
I believe that listening and supporting at this important time in their lives is paramount. Many teenagers do not have any family to turn to for help and advice, so tend to rely on you for this.
All three of these young people have moved on and they have all progressed in their lives. I feel rewarded now as one of these young people has been supporting me in the pandemic and collecting medication, doing my shopping and phoning to check all is okay with me. Another one also offered support to me.
I am in contact with many of the teenagers that I have cared for. I feel useful and that I have helped them and they still thank me. I feel blessed that I have been able to be part of these young people’s lives."