Foster Care Fortnight highlights need for more foster families for teenagers
There is an urgent need for more foster carers for teenagers across the UK, new research from the Fostering Network has found.
The survey, published at the start of Foster Care Fortnight, shows that three out of five (59 per cent) fostering services are desperately seeking foster carers to make sure that teenagers can be found the homes they need. And the situation is getting worse; virtually all fostering services (98 per cent) responding to the survey were looking for more foster families for teenagers than last year.
By being placed with the right foster carers, teenagers have the opportunity to continue with their education, the stability to thrive and a family that can give them the love and support they need.
Across the UK, a child comes into care and needs a foster family every 22 minutes. The Fostering Network estimates that an extra 8,750 foster families are needed in 2012 alone.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said: “Some teenagers in care have faced trauma beyond what can be comprehended by most of us. This means skilled foster carers are urgently needed to help them overcome their trauma, and to help them develop their self-esteem and expectations so that they can achieve their full potential.”
In addition to the shortage of foster carers for teenagers, fostering services identified a growing need for foster carers who can specialise in caring for sibling groups (80 per cent) and disabled children (45 per cent).
Robert continued: “Fostering services throughout the UK are working hard to recruit foster carers with the right skills so that each child who needs it can have the support they need and deserve.”
Pearl Cotterell, who has fostered teenagers for the past seven years, said: “I always tell the teenagers I look after that no matter what, I’m not giving up on them, and I know they can turn their lives around.
“So many of these young people have never had anyone who believes in them before. If you can instil that faith in them, then it gives them self-worth, and a desire to try and improve themselves, and that makes all the difference.”
Foster Care Fortnight, the Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise awareness of fostering and the need for more foster carers, runs from Monday 14 to Sunday 27 May. To find out more about fostering and to explore foster carer films and blogs, visit www.22minutes.org.uk
Figures are also available from the survey results in Scotland.