What is it like to foster?

Young people may be in need of a foster home for all kinds of reasons.

But almost all of them will be feeling confused, angry, betrayed, hurt, insecure or uncertain about their future.

There are very many more teenagers than infants requiring foster homes, and typically it is boys more than girls that struggle the most to find secure long-term homes.

It is important to have realistic expectations of fostering. As with all children, negative emotions can lead to challenging behaviour, and the early stages can be difficult - these are children who have been subjected to a great deal of upheaval and stress in their young lives.

Your role as a foster carer is first and foremost to be there for the child. Your daily routine will be much like any other family - school runs, helping with homework, encourage hobbies and interests, attending doctor and dentist appointments for example. But you will also work with the agency team of professionals to plan for the young person's care.

Speak to any foster carer and they will tell you that fostering isn't easy. But they will also tell you that it is often the simplest things you do like sharing a family meal, or going along to watch them play in a football match that can bring such joy to these young people's lives, and there's nothing more rewarding than knowing you've played such a large part in helping them enjoy a brighter future.