We recently asked two more of our dedicated foster carers to share their experiences with us.
Rachel (39), a Pastoral Lead in Education Provision, and James (40), owner of a construction company, have been fostering with Portsmouth City Council for the past two and half years. Their young person arrived aged 15 and has been with them since on a long-term fostering arrangement. He has just turned 21.
What is the teenager like that you’re fostering?
Our young person was in crisis when he first came to us, but he wanted to make positive changes to his life and has worked extremely hard alongside us and partners in the Foster Portsmouth team to make these changes happen.
What sparked your interest in fostering?
We had friends that were fostering and we were able to build a lovely relationship with their foster daughter.
James and I both felt that we have the love, nurture, patience, time, empathy and resilience to offer a young person (teenagers in particular) a safe environment for them to be able to heal from past and present traumas.
What has your fostering journey been like so far?
We have been able to offer our young person opportunities that he has grabbed with both hands! To see the joy that he has experienced with these opportunities has been extremely rewarding for our family.
Over time we have seen our young person develop pride, self-esteem, motivation and self-confidence in himself. He has a very different future now and we are very proud of him.
What are the most rewarding things about fostering?
Although James and I have been able to provide different opportunities and options for our young person, the most rewarding part for us has been watching him wanting to make changes and achieving things in his life he never thought he would or could.
To be part of a young person’s journey has been tricky, but through the difficult times it has drawn us closer together and led to our young person developing feelings of trust and safety.
Fostering has also had a positive impact on our own children, teaching them the importance of sharing time, empathy for others and understanding that everybody’s experiences are different.
What are the challenges of fostering teenagers?
We have had to work alongside our young person to develop the necessary skills to leave old habitats and change negative behaviours. This, at times, has been challenging but we found that always communicating with our young person, supporting the ups and downs of these changes, being open minded and willing to negotiate has encouraged our young person to make the right choices.
What would you say to anyone considering fostering?
Fostering is a wonderful experience. It gives you the chance to meet and help young people but also join the most supportive family of other foster carers and professionals who all have the same passion. There is always someone on the end of the phone for advice and support.
You could do it to…
The council welcomes all enquiries about fostering. This could be a short or long term placement for a child or siblings until they’re ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied minors or children with a disability, supported lodgings to develop their independent living skills, parent and baby placements, or respite care.
Anyone aged 21+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.
Carers receive a wide range of quality training and round the clock support including through our mentoring scheme and our innovative award-winning Mockingbird programme which provides a support network of other foster carers similar to that of an extended family. They also receive competitive fees and allowances.
Fostering teenagers is a unique opportunity to inspire the next generation. It is never too late to make a difference to young lives as foster carer.
To enquire about fostering with Foster Portsmouth, or to arrange a 1:1 with one of our experienced team or existing foster carers, please fill in our contact form below, call 023 9283 4071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more on teen fostering and foster carer Zhoura’s teen fostering journey.
*Some photos contain models to protect identities.