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Parents are being called on to foster Cambridgeshire teenagers

01 November 2023

The Cambridgeshire Fostering Service is asking parents whose own children have flown the nest, either to attend university or gain independence in other ways, to consider fostering vulnerable young people.

In Cambridgeshire, there are currently more than 400 young people in the 12-18 age range who, for reasons beyond their control, are unable to continue living with their birth families. These young people would benefit hugely from the invaluable experience of people who have raised teenagers and supported them on their journey to independence.

The Cambridgeshire Fostering Service spoke to foster carers Guy (61), a retired GP, and Clare (60), a lecturer, who are now in their fourth year of fostering for Cambridgeshire County Council.

“We considered fostering for a long time before even applying,” explained Clare. “The idea first came up in conversation with our own children as they grew up. Changes in our circumstances, with Guy retiring early and the children leaving home, led us to apply.”

Although Guy and Clare’s youngest was still living with them when they embarked on their fostering journey, it was important to them that he felt part of their fostering family.

“Our own grown-up children were very encouraging, and remain very supportive,” said Guy. “The application process was thorough, and although it took a while, we learned a lot about ourselves, our relationship, and our previous parenting experiences.”

Foster carers Guy and Clare
Foster carers Guy and Clare who are now in their fourth year of fostering.

Guy and Clare currently provide short-term emergency care for teenagers, either when those young people are on their way into care at a time of crisis, or when something else has gone wrong. They both feel well supported by their own social worker and the wider fostering team.

“We really enjoy the full-on approach for the weeks we have someone,” Guy smiled, “and then a rest!”

Both Guy and Clare agree that working as a team themselves, as well as building relationships with the wider fostering community, has been key to their success as foster carers.

“Being accepting and calm, and genuinely interested in our young people, is central,” Clare concluded. “We don’t make a drama out of a crisis! Reflecting together and with our young people has proved invaluable.”

Councillor Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “It is fantastic to hear about carers like Guy and Clare whose own children have grown up but are now providing foster care to children and young people who really need it. If you’re in a similar situation, with children that have flown the nest, please consider fostering – you have the potential to change someone’s life.”

When you foster with the Cambridgeshire Fostering Service, you will receive:

  • generous allowances and carer perks.
  • an individualised training programme tailored to your needs.
  • round-the-clock support.
  • a dedicated, skilled and experienced Supervising Social Worker.

Whether or not you are an empty nester, if you are over 21 years of age, have a spare bedroom, and believe you have the qualities and skills to become a compassionate, resilient foster carer, please get in touch.

Follow us on Facebook at @CCCFosteringService, visit the Cambridgeshire Fostering website, or call us on 0800 052 0078.