There are 821 children in care in Devon, but only 336 fostering households.
Almost 70% of those in care are young people aged 11 to 18 years old.
This Foster Care Fortnight (10 – 23 May) Devon County Council’s fostering service, ‘Fostering Devon’ is launching an urgent appeal to find more foster carers for teenagers.
Emma Nobes, County Manager at Fostering Devon, said:
“Our young people in care come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and they all deserves a safe and nurturing place they can call home.
“We are looking for people who can offer teenagers somewhere they can find their feet, build their self-confidence and develop independence and life skills so they can grow to be successful and responsible adults and reach their full potential.
“You don’t need to have experience of looking after teenagers, but being able to listen, being patient and caring and having a good sense of humour will help!
“Fostering can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, and you just need commitment and a spare room to apply.”
Fostering a teenager is as life-changing for foster carers as it is for the young people in care as Dan, one of Fostering Devon’s foster carers, explains:
“It only really sinks in when you can see for yourself the difference you can make to children who need some stability, and someone to believe in them.
“Fostering is so rewarding, especially seeing the children go from strength to strength with their schooling and everyday life.
“I never thought about the positive affect we can also have on the children’s birth families too. To be thanked and appreciated by the parents and grandparents takes it to another level that we’d not thought possible.
“Fostering with Fostering Devon means that we are part of a team that is ‘not for profit’, this means a great deal to us as we don’t believe that the unfortunate circumstances of children entering care should ever be profited from by large organisations.”
Nickie, one of Fostering Devon’s foster carers shares what fostering means to her:
“Fostering has changed our lives, it’s an honour and a privilege. I believe we offer stability and consistency that these young people haven’t had in the past, and a safe place. And in the longer term I think we offer them the chance to grow and improve their self-esteem and self-worth.”
Lucy is a teenager who is currently in care in Devon. She explains the difference her foster carers have made to her life so far:
“When I first came to live with them I had no confidence and now I feel like I can achieve anything I want to.
“I don’t think I’d be where I am today or achieved what I have as they play an important role in my life, they are role models and parents to me. I am now due to sit my GCSE’s next year and I hope to go to university.”
Fostering can be a career for life as Emma Nobes, County Manager at Fostering Devon explains:
“We provide a competitive financial allowance of up to £489 per week, per child to cover all expenses of caring for a child, as well as ongoing training and support to enhance the skills you may already have.
“In addition to this, as a foster carer, you will have your own supervising social worker, the promoting stability team and peer support from our experienced foster carers help ensure you have as little or as much support as you need.”
If you, or someone you know, has a spare room and commitment to support a teenager in Devon, we’d love to hear from you!
To find out more information about how you can foster for Devon County Council and inspire a future, please visit www.fosteringindevon.org.uk or call us on 0345 155 1077.