A NEW campaign is being launched to recruit foster parents to care for older children and teenagers in Northwich and Winsford.

Foster4, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s foster carer recruitment service, says that many people will not consider fostering teenagers because they can be seen as aggressive, noisy and uncooperative.

But a brash exterior often hides feeling of insecurity, fear and confusion – and as a result of these misconceptions, many individuals who could provide a young person with a nurturing home are deterred from fostering teenagers.

Margaret is a single foster carer, now retired from work, living in Winsford.

She has been fostering for three years, having specifically enquired with a view to fostering teenagers.

Margaret said: “I find the teenage years to be fascinating and interesting as you see a child develop toward adulthood.

"The teenager I foster is nearly 16 years old now. It has been amazing to see him grow and develop, and to help influence his life in such a positive way.

"Teenagers are often perceived to be difficult or demanding but in my experience it is about building rapport and mutual respect with someone.

"He has been brilliant during the lockdown, even though he hasn’t been able to go outside and mix with his friends.

"I was worried that it might affect his mental health as he really enjoys being outdoors, but he has shown me how resilient he is, as well as being a kind and thoughtful young man.”

Margaret, a former mental health nurse with a background in training, found a real connection with teenagers when she took over a youth training scheme (YTS) when working at a college.

She enjoyed guiding young people to help them unleash their true potential, and her previous experience inspired her to pursue becoming a foster carer.

Margaret added: “The trauma informed training course I did with Foster4 was brilliant and not only helped me to understand and communicate better with the young person, but also taught me to check my own behaviour, addressing issues more calmly and sensitively.

"I really enjoy being a foster carer, it has taught me patience and not to take anything for granted. If you like children you will love fostering.”

Foster4 is on the lookout for anyone who has spent more time with their own teenage children during the pandemic, who may be interested in fostering.

Cllr Bob Cernik, cabinet member for children and families at CWAC, said: “Foster carers like Margaret are so important in helping to nurture, guide and support children who may not have had the best start in life.

"We need new carers to come forward who, in particular, can support older children and be a positive influence in their lives.

“Foster carers play such a valuable role in our borough and we’d love to encourage even more people to consider taking their next steps into fostering.

"There is fantastic support and training to help them too, so I would urge anyone interested to get in touch with the Foster4 team”.

Cllr Margaret Parker, CWAC's member of Foster4, added: “The young people in our care are often the group that need the most support as they develop and get ready for adulthood.

"Providing them with a loving and stable home in the local area can really help set them up to get the best start in life.

“The Foster4 website has lots of information about the process of becoming a foster carer and the knowledgeable team will be able to answer any questions you might have about fostering with your local authority.

"If you have been considering fostering and think you could help a young person in need please get in contact.”

Anyone interested in fostering can find out more at foster4.co.uk