Campaign for more foster carers

A TEENAGER has spoken about her experience of being fostered after an appeal was launched to find Islanders who could provide care for older children.

Picture: Government of Jersey (30843673)
Picture: Government of Jersey (30843673)

More foster carers are needed, particularly for teenagers, as this is often the most difficult age group to find homes for. The government is launching the recruitment campaign as part of Foster Care Fortnight, which runs until Sunday 23 May.

And 19-year-old Ceira, who was fostered at the age of 16 for six months, has described the impact that fostering can have on teenagers. She has recently accepted an offer to study for a social-work degree this September.

She said: 'I was in full-time education. I had a part-time job and I needed stability. Having somewhere that I knew I was going to bed at night and where I knew someone was going to smile at me, when I was walking out to school in the morning, made all the difference.

‘You don’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to be a professional. You don’t need to be experienced in care either. You don’t need to live in a mansion. A two-bedroom family home, that’s a bit of a mess, is quite okay.

‘You just need to be human and you need to be caring. With these combined, you have the potential to be a foster carer. And that’s all you’ve got to do.’

As part of the new campaign, entitled Make Time for Teens, a foster carer has also shared her experience of looking after teenagers.

Mother-of-two Lauren Burnett is a recruitment officer for Fostering and Adoption Jersey and a foster carer for teenagers.

She said: ‘Fostering a teenager can seem very daunting. But if, like me, you’ve had trouble through your own teenage years, you can use your personal experiences to help change a young person’s life.

‘Sharing my own experiences of care, my memory boxes, my not-so-glowing school reports, photos and diaries with my teenage foster daughter has really helped us to bond.

‘Teenagers, especially those who have experienced trauma, need so much love. They need to see that people get things wrong but never give up.

‘They need to see from their carers that there isn’t one way to get your

dreams.

'There are a thousand different routes. It is important to find something they are interested in and nurture, nurture, nurture.

‘I wanted to pass on all my life lessons to someone who would truly benefit. This is why I fostered.

'I’m so proud and inspired by her journey and have learned so much from fostering a teenager too.’

Mark Owers, director of Safeguarding and Care, added that more carers were needed in order to provide family placements for young people.

He said: ‘With the right support and training, this can become the most wonderful and rewarding role for a foster carer.

‘That’s why it’s so important that our fostering service finds the right foster home for each child first time, and help to make time for teens.’

For more information go to gov.je/fosteringandadoption.

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