A new campaign encouraging people across Doncaster to consider fostering teenagers has been launched by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust in partnership with Doncaster Rovers.
The ‘Teenage Kicks’ campaign aims to change existing perceptions around caring for teenagers and show how positive the experience can be for both the young person and the carer. Doncaster Rovers are backing the campaign, with a number of their teenage players who have lived with a ‘host’ family as part of their scholarship, discussing their own experiences of the impact a strong support system can have.
Caring for teenagers does take specific skills and as part of the new campaign DCST are asking people who may already possess these skills, through working with teenagers on a voluntary or professional basis, to come forward.
Paul Moffat, Chief Executive of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust said: “Many people discount fostering teenagers as they think it will be ‘too difficult’, when in fact it can be a very rewarding thing to do. Teenagers are at a time in their lives where they are at their most susceptible to external influences, so having a strong role model to offer them support and stability is invaluable.”
Gavin Baldwin, Chief Executive of Doncaster Rovers said: “We know there is a real shortage of foster families not just in Doncaster, but throughout the UK. Over the past few years as a Club we’ve supported a number of initiatives aimed at solving this problem and are hopeful that our support can help boost the impact of the Teenage Kicks campaign.
Janice Jinks has been a foster carer for twenty nine years and in that time has looked after nearly fifty children and young people. Janice said: “Providing a young person with care and stability throughout their teenage years is crucial. It’s very rewarding, watching them blossom into confident young people and empowering them for the future as an independent adult. Fostering changes lives, and I’m proud to have been part of so many.”
Doncaster Rovers player Ben Askins lived with a ‘host’ family while he was training with the club as a teenager and understands how important it is for young people to have the support of a family as they grow up.
Ben said: “My host family helped me in so many ways, most of which may seem pretty simple but were exactly what a teenage boy living away from his family needed, including making sure I had good food to eat and a safe place to live. Although not entirely the same as being fostered I can completely see how teenagers could benefit from this temporary help and support and would encourage people to consider fostering teenagers .It certainly had an impact on my life to be welcomed into another family and contrary to popular belief teenage boys aren’t that bad!”
The campaign will officially launch at the Doncaster Rovers game this weekend against MK Dons.