New campaign to recruit Wirral foster carers for teens
A major campaign to boost the number of people fostering teenagers has been launched in Wirral.
The aim is to overturn the misconceptions about fostering young people as they reach secondary school age.
It will build on the hugely successful #BigHeart campaign launched last year to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers in Wirral.
Fostered teens are no different to any other teenagers and they are no more difficult to look after than those not in the care system.
However, many potential carers are put off because they think teenagers will be more difficult to look after – meaning dozens of young people from Wirral are left facing being looked after in private residential care homes.
The campaign also comes against a background of increasing concern at the rising costs of children’s care in the private sector, following a report from the Local Government Association (LGA) which represents councils across England and Wales. It found that six of the 10 largest independent groups of providers of children’s care had more debts than assets raising concerns about their future stability.
Wirral Council is currently looking at other options than relying on private and voluntary sector care homes in the face of above-inflation rises in cost of care – but there are young people now who need stable homes and loving families to support them.
For this reason the local authority wants to establish a group of foster carers who specialise in taking care of teenagers and are able to step in to help.
Wirral Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, Cllr Tom Usher, said: “It’s often difficult to place teenagers with carers and one of the reasons for this may be that some people who are considering foster caring believe that they will be more difficult to look after.
“But in many ways that’s not the case – and fostering a teen can be an incredibly rewarding experience. They are more independent, so need less direct care – but they are still often vulnerable youngsters who need stability and a loving home to help them flourish at a crucial stage in their development.
“Here in Wirral we have many extraordinary foster carers who are astonishingly selfless in the work they do – but we need more of them.”
One of those who has experience of fostering teenagers in Wirral is Terrie Black. She said: “There’s a lot of misconceptions around teenagers but the teenagers I’ve fostered are no more difficult than when my own grown up children were teenagers.
“What I love about fostering teenagers is the gossip, giggling and the music! It gives you more flexibility as they go out more to give you some space too.
“They are just kids who need room to be who they are.”
If you can find it in your heart to help teenagers who need a loving home you can get more information from wirralfostering.org