Teenagers in need
Over the past decade, the number of children in out-of-home care in NSW has increased by almost 60 per cent from 11,843 to 18,659.
More than 11,000 of them are older children, between the ages of eight and 17.
The sad reality is that many teens in foster care don’t have an easy time becoming adults and many struggle with basic life skills. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show every year about 1200 young people in NSW age out of out-of-home care. The phrase “age out” is a term to describe youth who turn eighteen before finding a permanent home. This is an unsympathetic term to describe a child being without a forever family forced to face the world alone.
The phrase “age out” is a term to describe youth who turn eighteen before finding a permanent home. This is an unsympathetic term to describe a child being without a forever family forced to face the world alone.
Every stage of parenting is hard
Every stage of parenting is hard. Newborns don’t sleep through the night, toddlers destroy everything and suck out the little energy you have, and middle schoolers are coming into their emotions and it’s like playing mood roulette. So to say fostering a teen is hard, it is not breaking news. It’s just a different kind of hard. As with many hard things, it is worth it and there is a surprising amount of unexpected joy.
Not everyone is suited to foster caring for a young child, but foster care for teens really opens the door to a variety of other people, including empty-nesters and singles. Generations such as Baby Boomers and Gen X have so much to offer children and young people. If you are in good health and have lots of love to give, foster care could be one of the best decisions of your life. Older foster carers often say they feel tremendous satisfaction from feeling that they’re still useful to the younger generation.
Living in an uncertain limbo
Imagine being 12 years old and waking in an unfamiliar motel room. It’s not safe for you to live with your parents right now – you don’t know when you’ll be able to go back home or how long you’ll need to live in the motel. A youth support worker gets you ready for school. She’s nice, but you wish you could live in a house like the other kids at school.
There are almost 20,000 children desperately in need of a safe and secure home in NSW. Yet due to a critical shortage of foster carers, some of these children have no loving foster home to give them sanctuary. Through no fault of their own, these children are living in an uncertain limbo in motel rooms with support workers looking after them.