Finding enough foster carers for teenagers is always a challenge. Richard and Tony applied to foster with us specifically so they could help teenagers. They are now making a positive influence on many of our young people.
“We’ve been fostering with Tower Hamlets for over six years – we came to them because I (Tony) was brought up in the borough and still have family who live in the area. I come from a large family – I am one of five and I’ve been around my siblings, nieces and nephews for many years and Richard has a son who is in his 20s, so we knew what to expect – we knew we could make great parents.
“For us it was all about making a difference in young people’s lives, and to give something back to the community that Tony was brought up in. I’m not sure when we first thought about fostering but it was this reason which made up our minds; that it was the right decision for us.
We specialise in fostering teenagers – a group that many often shy away from. We love the way that we can see a young person change so much with love, care and attention. When we were considering fostering, we knew that we didn’t want to become full-time foster carers as you would need to be with young children all day, every day. We both work – I am a duty manager for Docklands Light Railway and Richard is a tanker driver for an oil company. We realised that by fostering teenagers – we would get the experience of children in our lives but we didn’t need to be getting up through the night or changing nappies! The children could fit into our lives and they have. Like most parents, we balance the care of our children with our jobs, and find our employers support us too.
“Our family support us whole-heartedly – they know this is what we wanted to do and they have supported us throughout the last six years. Richard’s son Aaron works at the Ealing studios as an animator in film and TV production – this is often a big hit with the children. One boy became especially fond of Aaron and became really motivated to learn and develop when he saw the opportunities which were out there for him. Whilst Aaron doesn’t live with us – he supports us and enjoys getting to know the youngsters who come to us.
“The reward and satisfaction you get from fostering when you see that you have made a difference to a child or young person’s life is huge. In some instances this could be the most smallest of change for the child or young person that could change their life.
“We can’t see an end to fostering – it’s part of our lives and we love to work with the children and other carers to get the best for them. I would never consider putting an age on caring for children and young people, as they will always be a part of our lives, even when they grow up and move on. We still receive phone calls and text messages from them, which is a wonderful experience. We’re here to stay and hope that we get to meet more new carers over the coming years, because unfortunately there is a need greater than ever.”
If you would like to find out more about how you could help teenagers, please get in contact.