Fostering teenagers in Hackney supports their educational and social development
PUBLISHED: 11:49 23 August 2018
‘Fostering has been really positive for me, I have no regrets whatsoever.’
Historically children in care have not been expected to perform well in education, however Hackney has a positive and growing example of what these children can achieve with the right support and guidance.
Karmen, a foster carer for 13 years, shares her experience of fostering teenagers and supporting them in education.
“The most rewarding things in relating to my teenagers is how far they have come. One in particular missed a lot of their earlier education and it was a real uphill struggle.
“But the perseverance has paid off: they are doing so well at school, they really enjoy their studies and we’re getting lots of positive feedback from teachers. More importantly they believe in themselves; their career aspirations have gone sky high.”
The need for those that can take on teenagers is in growing demand across the country and Hackney is not exempt. Karmen reflects that: “Teenagers present different challenges [to younger children]. They have got opinions and you’ve got to listen to them.
“I think teenagers are fun because they are young adults; they’ve got wide interests, and different experiences so you can have really in-depth discussions.
“But you also have to have a sense of guidance. [Like most teenagers] they are boundary pushing; you have to set boundaries with all children you foster and with teenagers the same.
“It might be in terms of rules and responsibilities around the home. It might also be things like curfews, friendships and so on.
“They also have their insecurities, even though they present as very confident and you have to recognise that for a lot of teenagers they have a lot of self-esteem issues so you’ve got to be in there with the praise.”
Karmen also shared another positive aspects of fostering teenagers: “The liveliness in the house; there’s often a lot of music around. There is so much I know about popular culture, because I’m hearing it and we’re talking about it. So it kind of keeps you young in a way.
“Fostering has been really positive for me, I’m really glad I did it, I have no regrets whatsoever.”