Did you know?
Teens make up nearly half of all the children in foster care. No matter their age, kids need a place to call home. What they don’t need are diapers, bottles, and nighttime feedings!
“When I realized that I was making a decision about a specific boy, and not just any random teen, it made a difference.”
Karrie, a Salt Lake foster parent, was referring to the difference it made in her ability to make a decision. She began fostering with a parameter of age, but as she considered the children’s needs, her focus became the child and she found herself no longer worrying about the child’s age. This realization didn’t just make a difference in her decision-making. It also made a difference…a big difference…in the lives of teens she has since cared for.
Why foster a teen?
Each year, Utah Foster Care hosts events that focus on educating prospective foster parents and the public about fostering and showing up for teenagers. At these events, you will get to hear from local foster families and teens themselves.
You’ll hear questions like… “How do you deal with sibling rivalry?” “Do you have children the same age and how do they fit together?” “Do you recommend caring for children younger than yours or older?” “What can you do to build a relationship with them?” And to the teen on the panel, “How long did it take you to feel trust? How long before it felt like your home?”
They aren’t just “foster teens”…
They are teens who happen to be in foster care. Foster families often share that friends and neighbors have all experienced situations with their own children that aren’t much different than what they have seen as foster parents.
About half of the children in foster care are teens.
The state of Utah struggles to find enough families for all of the children who are longing for a stable family. For some reason we get scared by the age, when perhaps a better focus when determining our capacity to care for them would be the youth’s behavior and needs. As one of the panelists put it,
“You think you’re scared? Think how scared these kids are. The stakes are higher for them.”
When teens age out of foster care without a place to call home and someone to call family, they can face unique and concerning challenges – poverty, homelessness, pregnancy at a young age, and more. Learn more about it here.
Consider joining us for an event to learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of vulnerable teens in Utah. Learn from families already caring for teens; what it’s like, why we need you, and how you can help.
Questions about foster parenting in Utah?
We have a team of people near you who can answer them!