Perception of young people in care: why we love fostering teenagers

Fostering Blog (January 2024): Sharen and Colin

Perception of young people in care: why we love fostering teenagers

In March 2022, 40% of the 7,080 Children in care of the local authority in Wales were aged 10 – 15, with a slightly higher number of boys than girls (source:

Teenagers are often overlooked within Foster Care with the perception that they are more difficult to manage. Fostering teenagers can come with its challenges but also offer huge rewards. It’s also important to remember that challenges can occur with children of any age, not just children in care.

A challenging stage of development

For any young person, teenage years can be a challenging stage of development with a change in hormones and a growing desire for independence. For our Children Looked After there are often additional considerations based upon a range of factors such as the neglect, instability and lack of emotional warmth they may have experienced. All teenagers thrive upon being provided with stability, direction, boundaries and understanding and our young people are no different.

Your role is to encourage our young people to develop their independence skills safely and to help – as part of the team around the child – to prepare them for adulthood. As a foster carer the expectations upon you to care for our young adults sees a focus upon modelling positive relationships, budgeting and personal safety as the majority are normally able to care for themselves in terms of hygiene, are mostly in full time education and therefore are more independent than younger children.

Adulthood – what next?

Foster Wales Denbighshire recognises that just because a young person has turned 18, they are not necessarily ready to live independently. The 'When I Am Ready Scheme' (external website) – allows the young person to remain in the fostering household with the continued support of professionals with the aim that a young person leaves their ‘home’ when they are ready in the same way that all young people do.

Our foster carers Sharen and Colin have been fostering with their local authority in Denbighshire for 23 years. Sharen shares her experiences of fostering and why they love fostering teenagers.

Fostering Blog (January 2024): Sharen and Colin

"We have fostered around 15 teenagers over the years and really thrive off the rewards that come from fostering teenagers. Teenagers are often misunderstood and come into care at a time when they are very aware of what's going on."

"People think that teenagers are complicated and although they come with their challenges, the right guidance, stability, and security provided to a teenager can really help to shape their futures."

"We have recently seen one of our foster children go to university. Another has got a full-time job, saved, and bought their own car. Watching them reach milestones, gain independence, and develop into caring, confident adults has been hugely rewarding for us as a family."

"I love fostering teenagers because I know they will never forget me." - Sharen

"I was recently contacted on social media by a young person that I use to foster to say that they had no photos of themselves as a child. We were able to provide them with some photos that we had taken when they were in our care. They then asked if they could visit us with their children so they could recreate some of the photos we had sent them. It was lovely to see them again and catch up on what they had been up too since leaving us."

"These are the type of memories that I cherish."

Emotional Moments

One of the young people currently living with Sharen and Colin as part of "When I'm ready" (external website), a scheme in Wales which gives young people the right to stay with their foster carers once they reach 18 years of age, really touched their hearts recently.

"She asked both of us to write Mum and Dad on a piece of paper. We didn’t think much of it at the time until she came home a couple of days later and she had the words that we had written tattooed on her arm! We were absolutely blown away and touched. It was such an emotional moment."

Fostering Blog (January 2024): Tattoo

"We really love all of our foster children like our for her to do something like that meant so much to us." - Sharen.

Your support as a foster carer with Foster Wales Denbighshire

As a foster Carer, you will be supported in many ways. At Foster Wales Denbighshire we hold Foster Care forums throughout the year which is an informal meeting for foster carers, giving everyone a chance to catch up, share stories, gain advice and catch up with the team over a cuppa! We also often have guest speakers and people from other departments within the Local authority to give talks about relevant services that are available to our foster carers and their family.

You will also be assigned a Supervising Social Worker who will assist you throughout your fostering journey.

“I have a really good relationship with my Supervising Social Worker”, Sharen added. “She provides me with great support, and I know that I can contact her for advice whenever I need to.”

"As well as supporting our foster carers, supervision is also a chance for us to recognise and thank our foster carers for the incredible work that they do for children in the heart of our communities." - Stacey, Supervising Social Worker, Foster Wales Denbighshire.

Could you foster with your local authority?

If you live in Denbighshire and feel that you could help build better futures for local children, contact Foster Wales Denbighshire and a member of our dedicated team will be in touch for a friendly, no obligation chat to help you decide if Fostering is right for you.

If you live anywhere else in Wales visit Foster Wales (external website) to find your local authority Fostering team.