Teenager (6) (1) (1)

Caring for a teenage foster child is a hugely fulfilling role, and often comes with fewer challenges than other age groups. Without a solid family foundation and a good role model, many teenagers leave the care system and face challenges such as homelessness, poverty, poor mental health, and drug/alcohol abuse.

By fostering a teenager, you can help them move towards a bright future and support them in healing from their past to prepare them for adulthood. The stability and support a foster carer can provide at this important stage in their lives can have a huge impact and help them develop into caring, confident and independent adults.

Along with all the changes that happen during adolescence, which can often be stressful and confusing, teenagers may also have past trauma from neglect and abuse. Sadly, many teenagers in the UK are overlooked due to the perception that a teenage foster child will be more difficult to manage. While it may sound initially hard work, fostering teenagers tends to be less demanding than caring for younger children as they need less supervision. Often, they are at school full-time and have formed friendships which gives them increased independence.

As they navigate through a key and challenging stage of their development, teenagers in care are often trying to understand who they are and overcome traumas from the past. Teenagers in care can often feel overwhelmed with the changes that puberty brings along with exams and the prospect of finishing their education and deciding what to do next.

The placement length will depend on a few factors. If they’re 16 years old or over, it is likely to be a short- term fostering placement (up to 2 years). However, if they are placed with you before they turn 16, they may be with you on a long-term fostering placement (2 years or more). It is also possible for the teenager to stay with you for several years after they leave foster care, this is known as ‘Staying Put’.  

Key responsibilities of foster carers to teenagers include:

  • Ensure they are attending and getting the most out of their school and education. See how our Head of Education, Andy, can support you.
  • Encourage them to develop life skills, ready for independence and adulthood.
  • Maintain contact with their birth family where appropriate.
  • Support them through any teenage difficulties including their emotions and feelings.

You won’t be doing this on your own. You will have the support and guidance of the professional team at Nexus Fostering. Find out more about the support we provide.

Read foster carer’s Halima & Adam’s story about fostering a teenager here.


Fostering insights


  • Young person
  • Teenager
  • Foster Carer
  • Therapeutic
  • Support
  • Long-term fostering
  • Social Worker

Date published

08 November 2023

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