Scented Candles

Have you ever wondered why so many teenage foster placements break down? last week I wondered this’ as I spent the whole week supporting different young people and their carers to prevent this from happening.  One in particular I was not able to prevent from breaking down.  The Young Person asked to leave her placement for lighting candles to mask cigarette smoke.  The final straw for the carer.  

Although I suspect in this case the carer was all to pleased to be rid of this Young Person.  Because her needs were slightly more than the average teenager.  This is the trouble that I am finding more often than not when looking for placements.  “low risk” for anything other than residential, who are all to happy to work with Young People with slightly more challenging needs and additional support needed.

The problem is does this work? No…… does not!

A new company in our area providing semi supported living advertised their two vacancy’s “Only low risk Young People should be considered!” What worries me is that even low risk young people need support, they need guidance and someone to listen.  They have friends and family and anyone of these could be used by someone to break the placement down.

For many Young People foster care may never work, as considered in research good practice when working with refugee and asylum seeking children. This is also the same for many young people not just Asylum seekers; but this should not discouraged as a route for others.

It seems that the system wants you to move on at 18 years of age whether you are ready or not.  But if you are not ready your options are no better.  Often the only options are Foyers, or YMCA’s.  Not that I would criticise these placements, just that there is not enough of them or enough funding for support within them.

Also I worry that for some young people the only way they are going to know how to live on their own; is by living in an environment where there is no staff change overs or handover meetings.  Where the main carer can offer support and develop skills to encourage independent living.  However, this will not always be easy and the carer will need to consider that the young person may be suffering from emotional difficulties and maybe even Post traumatic stress disorder, from either being placed into care or a traumatic event in their life.  

This can often mean that the behaviour is looked at first rather than the real support that is needed.  Of course this is just not support from the foster carer but from everyone working with the young person. The outcome, greater chance of independent living or some of the skills required to make it work.

But please consider that when fostering Adolescents that every notice and placement move may reinforce their own self belief and self worth.  Making it harder for the next placement to work.


One response

  1. This fits with my experience of young people in placements. When will we get people to realise that there are no 'low risk' young people who really need this sort of support and accommodation? It takes a lot of work supporting carers to help them to understand the damage that these young people have received and a long time to help them rebuild their lives as well.I often wonder how they fare in adulthood and then read the local papers to see many of them named in reports!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: