Debbie and Paul’s story – A couple who foster teenagers
Debbie and Paul have been fostering since 2015 and are currently caring for a teenage boy.
“I wanted to become a foster carer and especially a foster carer for Southwark Council because it’s where I live and I think it is important Southwark people foster Southwark children. We found ourselves in a situation where our youngest went away to university and we were rattling around a three bedroom flat and it’s a joy to have youngsters coming into the home. It’s something that we both wish we had done sooner.
“You’ve got be prepared to treat that child as one of your own, they’ll be able to tell if you were keeping them at arms length. It’s really important that for the time that child is with you; you are their advocate and you speak up for them when they need it.”
“If you are considering becoming a foster carer, you need to think about your family and how it will affect them. It’s very important they feel included as you’ve got to think about the whole package. You’re not just looking after a child, you’re taking them under your wing and that child needs to feel part of your family.
“We’re looking after a teenager at the moment I think there can be a lot of sensationalised stories about caring for older children. What was really good for us was that we were able to meet with him first as he was in respite care and it just clicked. With teenagers you still have to be there and parent but they also like to have their own time. As long as there is compromise and you are in agreement with what they’re doing - it’s easier than what people might think.
“Despite any initial concerns that I had - I love it. He’s part of our family and other foster children that we’ve had look up to him for advice. He always has a home with us, he threatens I’m going to find him on the couch when he’s 22 or 23! He still sees his family all the time and he’s also part of ours.
“The news only ever reports the bad stuff, you only ever hear about the ‘impossible teenagers’ and that’s not the case for everyone. You don’t hear about the good things!”
Page last updated: 09 March 2018