(Leeds City Council News) New foster carers needed to give Leeds teenagers a fresh start

Leeds City Council is on the look-out for people who have a spare room and can look after a Leeds teenager who is looked after by the authority.

More teenagers in Leeds are in need of good foster families who have the specialist skills required for looking after an adolescent.

The council is looking to recruit foster carers for young people aged 13 and over, who would be able to look after a young person beyond the usual leaving care age of 18, in order to provide an effective stepping-stone to independence.

A new advertising campaign is being launched this week to find people who are able to meet the challenges faced when looking after teenagers, and have the relevant existing skills and experiences.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:

“Fostering a teenager can be a challenging but extremely rewarding thing to do. Adolescence can be a turbulent time for any young person, but this is often compounded for young people in care, who have often had a troubled early childhood.

This is why we need to find those amazing people who are robust, energetic, empathetic and caring and able to rise to the challenge.

“There are no particular people who make successful foster carers for teenagers. They include single people, couples, and gay and lesbian carers. Before fostering they have usually had experience of caring for teenagers, either through raising their own family, or through having contact in other ways, for example through their work.

“What is important is that they share a genuine enjoyment in working with teenagers and a commitment to promoting their welfare and helping them become independent adults.”

Over recent years there has been a move towards young people remaining in foster care after they reach 18. The recruitment of the new specialist carers will offer a stepping stone between foster care and independent living and provide young people with an opportunity to acquire skills to achieve this transition successfully.

The council has two dedicated fostering support teams and carers have access to professional training and qualifications.

By working for Leeds City Council, carers will help ensure all the available funding for fostering goes towards children and young people and that Leeds children are fostered in their home city, which at times can help them remain in their local school and community.

People interested in finding out more are invited to come to a ‘foster a teenager information evening’ on Wednesday 26th February 2014 (7pm till 9pm) Waitrose Supermarket (Cafe area), Meanwood, LS6 4RJ.

Visit www.foster4leeds.co.uk or call the dedicated foster care recruitment line on: 0113 2477443 for more information.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk