Foster care in Yorkshire: How you can make a difference and transform a teenager’s life

Become a foster carer in West Yorkshire. Stock imageBecome a foster carer in West Yorkshire. Stock image
Become a foster carer in West Yorkshire. Stock image
A teenager’s life has been completely turned around, thanks to the support and guidance that she received from foster care.

The teenage girl - known as J – now has her eyes firmly set on her chosen career path; and it’s all thanks to Andrea, the single mum who took her under her wing with the support of Team Fostering.

Now Team Fostering is hoping that their story can encourage others in Yorkshire to find out more about fostering - and especially to help the hundreds of teenagers who enter the care system every year.

When Andrea first joined up with Team Fostering, she was apprehensive about fostering a teenager; a general public perception is that fostering is about small children and toddlers.

Find out more with Team Fostering. Stock imageFind out more with Team Fostering. Stock image
Find out more with Team Fostering. Stock image

Wanting to make a difference to the lives of young people

Andrea had also heard generalised stories of fostered teenagers running away, or perhaps stealing from their foster families.

The pivotal change in perception for Andrea was when she was given the opportunity to provide a home for a young Ukrainian woman.

For three months, Andrea gave a place of safety to the 19-year-old who had fled the war.

Before then, Andrea - a single parent to a grown-up daughter - had wondered if she would be able to cope with fostering on her own, despite wanting to make a difference to the lives of young people.

A life changing decision

The experience changed her mind and Andrea reconsidered fostering.

Andrea had initially considered fostering young children; not least because teenagers can test boundaries and push limits.

Despite this, Andrea challenged herself to foster teenagers and she was matched with J.

It was life changing for both of them.

Andrea recalls that J was a typical teenager “sometimes stroppy” and didn’t have any routines.

J was a few months away from her exams, yet her school attendance was poor.

Andrea helped J to understand that she needed to change that; and told J to study hard and “work your socks off”.

It paid off, and Andrea was delighted when J got the grades she needed to follow a career of working with children. J told Andrea “if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have done this”.

It’s not the young person’s fault they’re in care

Andrea’s advice to people who may consider fostering teenagers is to be diplomatic with them; to treat them like an adult “but be smart about it” and to encourage them to make the right choices.

Andrea says: “You can’t take anything for granted when you’re a foster carer. You need to be open-minded because it’s not the young person’s fault they’re in care.”

J’s life experience has broadened, with experiences she’d never known before, such as holidays and even seeing a sheep for the first time in real life.

During Andrea’s new career as a foster carer, she has received invaluable support from Team Fostering.

Andrea explains that she has been able to ring Team at any time and speak to someone for advice, always getting a response straight away.

Drop-in sessions and online events to find out more

She says: “When I was looking for an independent agency to work with, I couldn’t fault the recommendations for Team Fostering.”

Recruitment days are taking place in January, and Andrea and J’s story may encourage people to find out more about fostering.

There are various ways, such as in-person drop-in sessions at the Team Fostering offices; arrangements can be made to meet the team in the community; or there are online information events.

To find out more, go to the Team Fostering website

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