Across the nation it is becoming harder all the time to find carers who will consider fostering teenagers. Seeing an adolescent through to adulthood presents particular challenges and demands and consequently recruitment is becoming ever more difficult. There are many misconceptions – one of the main ones being that youngsters find themselves in children homes as the result of bad behaviour. The media can also add to the problem by portraying teenagers as a group to be feared, or at the least hard to understand. Sadly, it is true that many teenagers coming into care will have witnessed or indeed participated in activities wider society looks down upon. Drug and alcohol abuse often combined with complex emotional needs means special skills are called for when fostering teenagers who have strayed into such activities. Considering half the children in care in the UK are over the age of 10, the pressures in finding placements become obvious – especially as many carers express preferences for fostering young children.
Another dimension to the situation is made evident in a Report published in November 2014 by the National Audit Office which found that there are increasing difficulties finding places for girls who might be at risk of sexual exploitation.
Rainbow Fostering through its training programmes and carer support initiatives works hard to find placements for teenagers. We recognise that this is an ongoing challenge for society as a whole and we strive to equip our carers with the skills and expertise to take on youngsters in their teens.