They’re back on YouTube! Trudy and Matt’s Fostering blog #3: “On fostering teenagers”

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Somerset County Council Foster Carers Trudy and Matt are back with the third lively instalment of their YouTube fostering blog – this time, focusing on teenagers.

Trudy Patch, 36, and her husband Matt, 40, live in Frome. They have three children of their own and were originally approved for 0 to 6 year olds, but now foster a 15-year-old long-term after deciding they wanted to care for teenagers.

Finding enthusiastic, new people who would consider fostering Somerset children aged 10-plus coming into care is one of the biggest challenges the Council faces. Often the prospect of dealing with potentially challenging behaviours is given as a key reason why people shy away from caring for vulnerable older children or teens.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “We are keen to emphasise not only that this is where the greatest need lies, but that it goes without saying that not all teenagers display challenging behaviour. Many of our foster carers, including Trudy and Matt, say that they enjoy fostering teenagers because they can have an adult conversation with them and they are fun to be with. We want and need to be able to make a unique, compatible match between a child and their Foster Carer, and we can only do this if more people, from all walks of life, are willing to Foster for Somerset.”

Trudy and Matt’s latest ‘vlog’ aims to challenge negative perceptions by highlighting their positive approach to working with teenagers, whatever the circumstances, and why they find it so rewarding. You can watch it here:

Trudy says: “Why we do it – because we love it, we love fostering, we enjoy it…we like the challenge, we like the daily busy-ness, we like how there’s never a dull moment, and most importantly, we like [that when you are] with a teenager we like that you can have a conversation –”

Matt: “–the banter… and when it’s that little thing that’s said, or shown, or produced, showing a little bit of interest in school, that, y’know, ‘Oh nice one, I’m really proud of you, ‘cos that must’ve been a real big effort for you to do that.’ So no matter how small, [giving] constant praise, compliments –”

Trudy: “We feel with fostering that it’s not that different with a teenager. You have different aspects, as in, they want to go out, later at night, they want to mix with other people, which are of a similar age or older, and it’s all those safeguarding things which are different, that you just deal with and you talk about…so that’s different to fostering a little person. But the main aspects are the same. There’s the same principles, the same boundaries, the same routines, consequences – it’s all the same, it’s how you approach it…I think they’re awesome.”

Matt adds: “We have three children of our own, and it was asked, the question, ‘Are you sure? You’ve got three young ones, do you want to bring a teenager into the mix? But actually…we’re finding it works really well.”

Find out how you can make a difference as a Foster Carer in Somerset – visit www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk, phone 0800 587 9900, ‘like’ the Fostering in Somerset Facebook page or follow @fostersomerset on Twitter.

Or come along to one of our next information events:

  • Tuesday 18 October, Bridgwater Costa Coffee, 12 Cornhill, TA6 3BU, 7pm to 9pm
  • Monday 31 October, Wessex Hotel, High Street, Street, BA16 0EF, 7pm to 9pm
  • Thursday 17 November, Yeovil Costa Coffee, Middle St, BA20 1LE, 7pm to 9pm
  • Monday 5 December, Pawlett Village Hall, Old Main Rd, TA6 4RX, 7pm to 9pm.