Fostering Teenagers in Kent

Archived: Posted March 6, 2013

For seven years, Julia and Rob have been fostering in Kent with Core Assets Fostering. During that time, they have looked after 25 young people on different types of placement, for various periods of time. The couple usually care for teenagers approaching independence who can present some very challenging behaviour.

“I always wanted to foster because I wanted to do something that had a purpose that would hopefully make a difference to children who needed care and understanding,” says Julia. “My ex-husband didn’t want to, but then, after two years as a foster carer, I met Rob.

“I feel it’s important that, as a couple, you both want to foster so that you’re both prepared to tackle the challenges. As carers, Rob is the practical one who doesn’t let his heart rule his head. I come across as the hard one, but I’m actually far more emotional.”

The challenges of fostering in Kent

Looking after teenagers has proved demanding for Julia and Rob, who have encountered challenging behaviour of all sorts during their fostering career.

“With fostering teenagers, it’s the usual problems; drinking, drugs, the opposite sex, and generally pushing the boundaries,” explains Julia. “It can be very difficult getting some young people to follow the boundaries, especially when a lot of their parents drink and do drugs and allow their children to participate when they visit. I think the birth parents want to be viewed as mates but what young people need is to feel safe.”

However, despite the challenges of fostering in Kent, the couple have had some equally positive experiences with the young people they have cared for. These, they have found, can be any small but meaningful victory, from being asked if they’d like a cup of tea, to being given a birthday card that was bought and not stolen.

Fostering teenagers

Julia and Rob have just had two months’ break from a full-time placement and have been providing respite foster care for a short time instead. This temporary change was a break for the couple after a difficult placement which took up a great deal of their energy.

For Julia and Rob, they have found that there are no magic strategies to deal with these more challenging placements. While one form of foster care support may work for one young person, it may not work at all for another. Pushing a young person to excel may encourage them, or make them even more resistant to help.

“Usually, getting young people to see why you’re angry or upset with them, or why they’ve disappointed you and let themselves down, will have a real impact,” says Julia. “Most of all it’s about letting them know you’re still there for them, no matter what. It’s best to wait until things have calmed down, and then encourage them to open up about why they’ve behaved the way they have. That’s where you find out how best to stop them from wanting to do it again.”

Fostering in Kent with FCA

“FCA was the first fostering agency I contacted, and I have never wanted to go elsewhere,” says Julia. “I feel that they really know us and have been there for us when times have been really rough, particularly during a personal bereavement.

“The agency runs foster care training courses that cover all aspects of fostering, from Parent and Child placements to Sanctuary Seeking children. This has put us in good stead; but nothing can teach you better than getting a placement. These young people will always try something that you haven’t been trained for.”

The most important thing for Julia and Rob is that they have no regrets whatsoever in becoming foster carers with FCA. Their experiences, while challenging, have been so positive that they would recommend the career to anyone who feels capable of fostering in Kent and throughout the rest of the UK.

“You do ask yourself why you’re doing it sometimes, but we know we’ll still be saying that in 20 years’ time, so there’s obviously something that you get out of it. We just know we’re doing something right, whether it’s seeing a young person in college or work after leaving care, or just a genuine smile.”

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Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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