‘You are not alone’: Meet the Gloucester couple who have been fostering teenagers for more than five years

Almost half of children that come into foster care are teenagers, so one couple from Gloucester reveals what to expect when fostering teens and how rewarding the experience can be.

When people think about foster care there is often an assumption that it’s only young children who need fostering. However almost half of all children who come into foster care are aged over 11.

Teenagers need foster carers too, but people are often daunted by the idea of looking after them – SoGlos spoke to a couple from Gloucester who opened up about what it’s really like to foster teenagers and why it’s such a rewarding experience.


About the sponsor — Gloucestershire County Council

With so many options for potential foster carers to consider, Gloucestershire County Council’s dedicated fostering service can help you decide which one that suits you and your circumstances – from helping local children and teenagers, to children with disabilities and many more.

The service aims to help people provide children with a safe and stable environment, so they can thrive during their time in foster care and beyond.

For more information, and to find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering or call (01242) 532654.

You can also find more information on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Tell us a bit about yourselves.

We’re Becky and Stuart Kefford and we are both in our 40s. We live in Gloucester and have been fostering teenagers for Gloucestershire County Council since 2016.

What were people’s reactions when you first said you wanted to be involved in fostering teenagers?

When I said I wanted to foster teenagers most people, including my husband, thought I was crazy. We already had two of our own so what difference was an extra one, I thought?

That one turned into three and we now have five teenagers living with us. I was then convinced, since I was at home more, that a dog would be a good idea. The cute photos and puppy dog eyes from the children wore me down and we ended up with three Saint Bernard dogs! Proof that you can foster with dogs, who are like therapy for all of us.

What is it like to foster teenagers?

Fostering teenagers is not for the faint hearted. We have cried, been driven to despair and survived on very little sleep. They will argue, make silly mistakes, frequently choose the wrong option and challenge and push until they nearly break you. But they are teenagers — that is what they do whether they are in foster care or not.

What kind of support is on offer for those fostering teenagers?

The advantage with fostering is that you are not alone. We have an amazing fostering social worker, local support groups and loads of training. There is also usually a friendly foster carer who has been through or is going through the same challenges, who can stand by you and work with you.

What is the most rewarding thing about fostering teenagers?

Fortunately, what we gain from these young people far outweighs the struggles. One silly mistake is overshadowed by the three amazing choices they have made in the same day.

I have learnt so much and there are far more times that I smile rather than cry. The pride I feel for even the smallest achievement is what keeps me going. There is nothing more rewarding than to share their success as young adults. My family is bigger, I’m more resilient and if my house were bigger, I would have more!

Why do you think more people should consider fostering teenagers?

Fostering teenagers is so important. They think they know everything but they don’t; they don’t speak your language but they still need you to listen; they might be bigger than you but they still need a hug. So yes, we may be crazy, busy, and tired but we wouldn’t change it.


For more information about becoming a foster carer, call Gloucestershire County Council on (01242) 532654 or visit gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering.

© SoGlos
Tuesday 29 June 2021

More interviews you might like...

From ensuring the recruitment process is fair to keeping contracts up to date, Willans LLP solicitors in Cheltenham offers some helpful advice on the legal side of recruitment.

Key things to consider when hiring new employees: Willans LLP solicitors expert insight

When it comes to recruitment, there’s a lot more to consider than just finding the right hire, according to Cheltenham-based...

As we embrace remote working as part of the ‘new normal’, Gloucestershire-based Amiosec offers its expert advice on how to protect your business from the ongoing threat of cybercrime.

The future of flexible working and cyber security: Amiosec expert insight

The pandemic showed businesses that remote working can be a success, but as cybercrime spiked, companies have turned to firms...

Gloucestershire-based Nimble Elearning shares the benefits of elearning to businesses, with the firm believing a blend of online and in-person training is the future.

Everything you need to know about elearning: Nimble Elearning expert insight

After the pandemic forced the nation to work and study from home, embracing elearning as we return to the office could provide...

Estate agent Naylor Powell shares the best places to buy a property in Gloucester.

The best places to buy a property in Gloucester: Naylor Powell expert insight

Considering where to invest in Gloucester? With big developments on the horizon and increasing demand for property, Naylor...

Stagecoach Gloucester delivers skills for the stage – and for life – through its fun dance, singing and drama lessons for children aged four to 18.

Stagecoach Gloucester expert insight: How performing arts can help children to thrive

From building self-confidence to making friends for life, stage school offers so much more than dance, singing and drama lessons...

Don’t miss

Unmissable highlights