More foster carers are needed in Thanet for teenagers, disabled children and siblings.
Kent County Council is holding a fostering event in Minster on 19 March where people can find out how they can really change a child’s future.
Teresa Carpenter, 59, from Broadstairs, and her husband Peter, 59, already know how crucial a stable home can be for a young person whose own home has broken down. They have fostered 30 young people, mostly teenagers, over the past 18 years.
She said: “We met a young lad who was in foster care and until that point I hadn’t really realised about the needs of children in care. This boy was the same age as my teenaged daughter and I realised what a good life she had got and how this lad was really unlucky.
“Since then we have fostered 30 young people, mainly adolescents. My own children were teenagers at the time that we started so it just made sense.
“Adolescence is such a crucial time – these children have often fallen out with their families and if their families have problems, they often don’t have a lot of time for the teenager because they are the ones seen as old enough to look after themselves.
“This is when the stability of a foster home can make all the difference and turn their lives around. They need consistency, love and help and someone to steer them in the right direction.
“These young people really do become part of the family and we are still in touch with nearly all of them. One boy came to us at seven and is still living with us at 24.
“One is a deputy manager of a mental health unit, another is a bus driver, another works in a nursery and we are so proud of them all. For some of them they are the first member of their family to have job. If you give them a few tools to help them out with life, they run with it.”
The best foster carers act as advocates for the child, setting boundaries and championing their rights to make sure they have the best possible chances to succeed.
More families are needed in Kent for teenagers and for disabled children, some of whom have complex needs. Carers are also required for young people who are 16+ to help older teenagers make the transition to adulthood.
KCC also works hard to keep brothers and sisters who come into care together, so they keep the crucial bond with their siblings. More families are needed who have the space to look after more than one child.
Fostering is a paid role and age and experience is not a barrier. Foster carers are fully trained and supported throughout their time fostering with Kent County Council and there are plenty of opportunities to meet with other foster carers.
Foster carers can be single, in a long-term relationship, with or without children and do not need to own their own home. You need a spare room and the determination and understanding to make life better for vulnerable children in Kent.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer and hear first-hand from foster carers, visit KCC’s next fostering event in Minster:
Thursday 19 March (presentation starts at 7pm)
Thanet Village Hall, Minster, CT12 4BU.
For those who are unable to attend the event, find out more about fostering, visit www.kentfostering.co.uk or speak with one of our Initial Enquiries Advisors on 03000 420 002.