Film aims to encourage more foster carers to look after teenagers in Highgate

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By poppy_smith | Monday, October 08, 2012, 18:35

Deciding that a child or young person shouldn't live with their family is never easy or clear cut. Neither is the decision to become a foster carer.

To help encourage more foster carers to come forward and offer to look after young people and teenagers; a partnership of five local authority fostering agencies collaborating as the North London Fostering Consortium has made a short film featuring real life foster carers explaining what looking after young people is like; and the affect fostering has had on theirs and the teenagers lives.

The North London Fostering Consortium is made up of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.

There is an ever growing need for more people to come forward and help look after young people and teenagers. Approximately 480 teenagers are currently in foster care to Haringey, Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington councils.

There are many negative perceptions of teenagers, even more so of the teenagers who come into the care of local authorities. Many young people are viewed unfairly as challenging and difficult to care for. As a result, the majority of people coming forward to say they are interested in fostering only say they will look after young children or babies.

The new ten-minute film challenges the negative perception and features foster carers and care leavers talking honestly about their experiences of fostering and the skills required to be a foster carer for teenagers.

Featured in the film are foster carers; Colleen and Francisco who speak positively of how fostering a teenager changed their lives and how they now feel "more like a family group than a couple".

The film premiered on Wednesday 3 October at Cineworld, Wood Green with the support of leading fostering charities the Fostering Network and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).

Peter Stevens, Manager of North London Adoption and Fostering Consortium said: "We hope the film will challenge the negative perception of fostering teenagers and encourage strong role models who are able to support and champion our looked after teenagers at this crucial life stage to come forward as foster carers. The film will directly support each borough in our collective aim to recruit more foster carers specifically for teenagers and by working collaboratively as the North London Fostering Consortium, we've been able to produce a high quality recruitment film that would have been unachievable as individual boroughs."

Speaking at the premiere, Cllr Ann Waters, Cabinet Member for Children at Haringey Council said the film showed the positive experiences to be gained by looking after teenagers but that it was also honest in conveying the reality of living with young people. She said: "Young people get a pretty rough time in terms of how the adult world views them and most of us have had experiences of sullen and moody teenagers but it's not easy making that transition from child to young adult even at the best of times. Imagine being a young person and having problems at home - which are usually beyond their control - added into that mix of everything to do with growing up. Young people need a different sort of care than children, but at the bottom of it all, teenagers need the same; to feel safe, wanted and cared for. Please, watch the film and think seriously about whether you could offer a teenager a temporary home. Fostering changes lives."

If you live in Haringey and are thinking about whether you could be a foster carer, go to the Fostering a Child pages to read an information pack and find out about the regular information sessions you can attend which aim to give you an insight into what's involved and help you to make that decision.

You can also directly contact Haringey Council's Fostering Team by:

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