The attitudes. The cell phones. The hormones. Are these things that come to mind when you think of teens in foster care? It’s true — all teens, whether in foster care or not, can be challenging. Being a foster care parent to teens is hard, but it is also incredibly rewarding.
Plus, teens also come with great perks:
- Teens are independent.
- You can sleep in on weekends.
- Date nights can happen without a babysitter.
- Teens can babysit.
- You get to teach valuable adult life skills.
- They love structure.
- They get to see a healthy, loving family.
- You can help stop a cycle.
- They’ll remember what you did for them forever.
- You can help them rebuild trust in adults.
- You get to help them envision a positive future.
- Did I mention the extra sleep?
If you’re considering fostering teens, you’ve probably got a lot of questions, uncertainties, and fears. You may feel unprepared. That’s normal and it’s OK. What a teen in foster care needs most is love, acceptance, and grace — they just need someone to show up for them and a place to feel safe.
Here are a few tips for fostering teens:
- Make boundaries, expectations, and rules clear from the start.
- Meet them where they are, not where you think they should be.
- Offer gentle nudges in the “right” direction.
- Give them their own space to unpack, process, and feel things.
- Always be honest and keep open communication.
- Allow them to open up to you in their own time.
- Don’t take things personally.
The need is great for foster families who are willing to say “Yes” to a teen. More teens need a loving and stable home than any other age range. These teens need and want a place to call home, a consistent place to celebrate holidays and milestones, and a place to feel safe and wanted. Many teens have to stay in a DSS office while a home is found for them, often missing school or other important events while they wait in limbo. Will you see the value in these amazing young adults? Will you step out on faith and say “Yes” to making a world of difference in the life of a teen?
If you aren’t quite ready to welcome a teen into your home long-term, there are many other ways to help, such as:
- Offer emergency and short-term placement in your home.
- Become a mentor to a teen in foster care.
- Support a teen by becoming a Guardian ad Litem (GAL).
- Initiate a fundraiser for local foster care organizations.
- Volunteer in a group home for teens.
- Provide meals for foster families.
The possibilities of ways you can help teens in foster care are endless.
Every teen is unique and has individual needs, strengths, hopes, and fears. But each teen is worthy of love and worthy of the chance to bless your family. If you’re ready to find out more about how you can support teens by fostering or through other ways, your foster care community is here to support you every step of the way.