Northamptonshire County Council has launched its latest campaign to recruit more foster carers – and especially for teenagers.
Latest figures show that 216 of the 539 children currently in foster care in the county are teens.
Foster carers are especially needed for children in the 11-15 age range and people are being asked to consider if they have the skills required to help, including the time and space in their life to care for the child.
Colin Clement and his wife Jackie have been foster carers for the county council for 12 years and have fostered a number of young people.
Mr Clement, who is chairman of the Northamptonshire Foster Carers Association, said: “Family life for us as foster carers of young people is chaotic, challenging and rewarding on a daily basis. It’s never boring as there is always something new to learn.
“Teenagers are already adults in the making, so our role is to help them make the right choices for themselves.
“Watching teenagers grow, develop and express their own opinions is incredibly rewarding, as is seeing them reach educational and emotional milestones and gain independence.
“To be a foster carer for a teenager, you need to be able to accept the challenging times, along with the rewards, but if you think you can improve the life chances of a young person I would encourage you to give it some thought.”
People who apply to become a foster carer will receive full training and support from a designated social worker, as well as financial support through a weekly allowance.
County council director of children, families and education Alex Hopkins said: “Our foster carers say there are great rewards in caring for an older child or teenager because you can offer vital support and guidance to help them develop confidence and self-esteem and make plans for the future.”
“It can be very challenging, but our carers get the reward of seeing the young person grow and fulfil their potential.”
For information about becoming a foster carer call 0300 126 1009.