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Published on: 2018-10-18 09:00:00
Building a trusting relationship is often the first hurdle to supporting teenagers who are looked after. Once trust is established, support with issues such as independence skills, education, and family contact can follow.
Thinking about how the young person benefits from placements, especially teenagers, the consistency of placement helps teenagers greatly along with carers who are able to manage the highs and the lows of their lives.
I have seen lots of successes, for instance a young person placed with Nexus carers over a two year period flourish, and successfully move on into semi-independent living, with a clear plan about her future education/career. I worked with this young person since she entered care though my previous roles and it was brilliant to see a positive outcome for her.
There are lots of stereotypes about teenagers, including those in foster care. Young people who are looked after are not a homogenous group, they all have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, aspirations and worries about the future. With the right foster carers, who are able to continue through the difficult times and celebrate achievements, the rewards for both young people and foster carers are great.
What would I say to someone expecting their first placement of teenagers? Listen, don’t have any preconceived ideas, give the young person time and space, and get to know them at their pace.