Urgent plea for people to foster teenagers in West Sussex

West Sussex is in urgent need of more people to foster teenagers, with almost two-thirds of the county’s children in care aged between 11-17.

Michelle Barnes has fostered teenagers with the County Council for 26 years
Michelle Barnes has fostered teenagers with the County Council for 26 years

Currently 541 of the 845 children in care (64 per cent) are aged 11-17 (as of December 2021)

More than half of these young people are already in foster care but many others are waiting to be fostered.

In a major bid to recruit new foster carers, West Sussex County Council has launched a new campaign for people who could give a child a chance to shine to speak to our fostering service.

Children are carefully matched with carers and full training and support is provided. Our foster carers receive up to £510 per week in allowances for fostering teenagers, making fostering a great career alternative.

Michelle Barnes has fostered teenagers with the County Council for 26 years. Michelle said: “Seeing all these children coming in your door as one thing, when they leave they’re totally someone else. A lot of them just need a safe place, somewhere where they can feel secure.

“To anyone thinking about fostering, I say go for it. You can be at home with your own children and there’s lots of support and training from West Sussex, there’s always help available.”

Michelle added: “All they need is a chance. Somebody to be there who’s not going to give up on them. It’s just nice to change lives, and we do as foster carers.”

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Christmas is an exciting time for most of us, but for many children in care who haven’t experienced happy Christmases it can be a really difficult time.

“Our foster carers like Michelle are our heroes who give these children happy experiences that really do transform their lives.

“At the moment we are in real need of people to foster teenagers. These children need a safe, stable home where they can be themselves and have the help they need to guide them into adulthood. If you think you can help, please give our friendly fostering team a call and they will be happy to answer any questions you have.”

Find all the information you need on our fostering a teenager webpage.

Other forms of fostering are also available, including fostering babies and young children. You can call our fostering recruitment team to discuss your options on 0330 222 7775.