Jem, from Reading, worked as a social worker and always knew that she enjoyed helping young people. She says 'I’ve wanted to get into fostering for years, but I have two children of my own and until recently I didn’t have enough room.'
Caring for teenagers has the power to have a lasting impact, and the experience is enriching for both the young person and the foster carer. Her first foster child was a 13-year-old boy who was with her for six months. She was able to help him with day-to-day things that many of us take for granted, like personal hygiene. She remembers, too, how he used to like being in the kitchen and helping with the cooking: 'he loved it but had never been given the opportunity before.'
She notes 'you can’t expect a massive change overnight, it’s about lots of little changes over time, but it can be just as rewarding for the foster carer as it is for the child.'
Jem also talks about the positive impact fostering teenagers has had on the rest of her family '…we had a teenage girl stay with us for a week. Even if you know a young person won’t be with you for long, you still give them the same level of care, support and protection as you would any child in your home. My daughter is 15 and was able to make a real connection with her in the short time they had together.'
Bev explains that when she decided to foster, she chose Barnardo's because 'it was very focused on how best to care for a child, and offered lots of training and support for new carers.'
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