Name: Ian and Lesley
Type of fostering: Supported Lodging Scheme (Mentoring a teenager)
Family situation: Married with grown up children
"We’d been thinking about becoming foster carers for a while, but because one of us would have to give up work, there never seemed to be a right time.
"When we enquired about fostering opportunities with Staffordshire County Council, the team told us about the Support Lodgings Scheme. We were interested in looking after teenagers rather than youngsters and the way the scheme works meant that we could still work if we wanted to, so it suited us better.
" We’ve had five young people come to stay with us so far. The longest stayed with us for seven months and the shortest for about five weeks.
" We basically do the same with them as we did with our own teenagers – there is an element of parenting but it’s mostly about teaching them to become independent. We teach them things like how to run a house, manage a budget and cook for themselves.
"The young people we look after are just normal young people. Yes – they have been in care but that’s not because they’ve done bad things.
"That’s not to say that they don’t have their own emotional issues. Most of the young people who’ve stayed with us suffer from very low self-esteem and we try to build that up. It’s hard to get a teenager out of bed at the best of times – but when they feel beaten before the day has started, it can be tricky to get them motivated.
"We've had lots of support and training from Staffordshire County Council. The training has helped us to understand why they behave the way they do. And if I’m not sure about something, I just pick up the phone and speak to someone. There’s a lot of support if you need it.
"One of the biggest rewards we get from the scheme is knowing that we’ve given a young person the confidence and skills to become independent and live on their own. We’re still in touch with all of the young people we’ve helped and they’re doing great. That's all the reward we need."
Find out more about Supported Lodgings.
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