Foster carers share how rewarding it is helping teenagers stay local
Almost half of all requests for foster homes in the county are for teenagers – so this August, the council is focused on finding more local foster carers who can help teenagers to stay local.
Helping teenagers in care stay in Gloucestershire means they can remain at their school, see their friends and have contact with their families, if it’s safe to do so.
Becky and Stuart Kefford, both 44, live in Gloucester and have been fostering for the county council since 2016. They have a house full of teenagers, with two of their own and another three teenagers that they foster.
Becky said: “Fostering teenagers is so important. They think they know everything but they don’t; they don’t speak your language but they still need you to listen; they might be bigger than you but they still need a hug.”
Foster carers who look after teenagers need to have good listening and communication skills. They need to be interested in guiding a young person to make the right decisions and to praise and encourage them along the way and when they get it right. They also need to help them keep themselves safe.
Linda Atkinson, 68, lives in Gloucester and has been fostering for the county council since 2014. She has cared for children of all different ages but now finds caring for teenagers particularly rewarding. Linda said: “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.”
Cllr Richard Boyles, cabinet member for children’s safeguarding and early years at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We want to keep children living close to their homes and with local carers who we can provide with ongoing support.
“Fostering is extremely rewarding and the financial cost of providing teenagers with the care, clothing, spending money and other needs, are all covered. Please get in touch if you think you can help, our team would love to chat to you.”
Could you care for and support a young person at an important time in their life?
Get in touch on 01242 532654 or visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering to enquire about fostering with us.