Stephen's Story - Believing in teenagers

Stephen playing football with boy

Over the last 15 years, Stephen has supported many teenagers at a vital time in their lives.  Initially by providing supported lodgings and for the last 5 years through fostering.

Stephen is now a sole male carer.  He told us what it means to be a positive male role model for teenagers as they grow towards independence.

Being open, honest, building trust and having a sense of humour are essential according to Stephen!

Ste and Boy playing football

"We've seen the rewards when teenagers have moved on from us to their own flats, college or jobs and we're still in touch today"


"We make them feel part of the family by spending time together, sitting around the dinner table for meals, (during lockdown it was covered in jigsaws!) and because we're a sporty house, football plays a big part!" 

Building trust

"I try and be firm but fair.  Have that banter with them and speak on their level as well as being their guardian and setting boundaries" 

"If you are open and honest and listen to what they are saying, they'll respond and take on board what you're saying"

Life Skills

"Sometimes I think they must think I go on and repeat myself, but I'm always showing them how to do their washing and cook simple things, to give them the life skills they need to become independent"

“Guiding, talking and believing in them, and even that bit of trust in them, helps them make the right decisions"

Training and Support

"I've always felt there is a lot of support, there's always someone there to help.  I've enjoyed doing the training and meeting other foster carers.  5 years ago I was nervous in meetings and would never have spoken up, but now I'm the sole advocate for the young person.  I know if I don't speak up for them, know one else will"

"As soon as they come in the front door we make them a part of our family. We give them a family life, love, encouragement and support to help them follow the right path"