How long have you worked with Nexus Fostering?
My name is Linda and I have worked for Nexus for 6 and a half years and have had D and B for 6 years. They came to us when they were 9 and 10 and are 16 and 17 now.
What are the main challenges teenagers present in placement?
There may be a lot of past trauma to deal with which affects their confidence and self-esteem and they have both had friendship issues and boyfriend/girlfriend issues.
I have had to be vigilant of any drug/alcohol misuse especially with addiction within their family. Transitions can be difficult and helping them to come to terms with their past. Boundaries can be pushed, and attitudes are not always good.
What do you think the benefits are for teenagers in a foster placement?
Having a sense of belonging and a family life. They also gain a lot of opportunities and support and go through transitions in their life with support from the foster carers.
What kind of changes have you seen in teenagers through Nexus’ and foster carers input?
With our input they have achieved; e.g. they are both at college and one has started an apprenticeship, you see them reach some independence.
It is lovely to have a good laugh with them and there are lots of good moments. You see them grow up and feel that we have not given up on them despite the challenges.
A lot of work goes in to reassuring them and making them feel a sense of self-worth. Together with Nexus, we have listened to them and given them opportunities and fought on their behalf for certain things such as contact with birth family.
How would you compare the perception of teenagers in care to your experience?
You see achievements, growth and resilience being built up. It’s fun at times, and you can negotiate with teenagers. I have had to be firm but fair and allow them to make mistakes and if you are patient then having teenagers is fine.
What tips would you give someone expecting their first teenage placement?
Have lots of patience and flexibility, a good sense of humour and have a listening ear. Be prepared for dramas. They have to feel that you really care.
Are you a potential foster carer looking to work with an officially outstanding agency? Get in touch by phone, or by filling out our enquiry form and we will call you back!