Youth Justice Fostering

Some young people need foster carers who can provide a supportive family environment while they are awaiting criminal court proceedings, have been bailed or have recently left a Young Offender’s Institute. These young people are usually aged between 10 and 16 years old.

Custody is often inappropriate and can be damaging for young people. The more damaged they become; the more likely they are to re-offend. Youth Justice Fostering aims to break that cycle by offering young people a stable family environment where they have the time and the support to re-think their lives. The role of the foster carer is always challenging, even for those with experience of working with young offenders, but it makes an invaluable contribution to the lives of many young people who would otherwise be lost in an institution.

Youth Justice foster carers provide young people with support and encouragement to tackle their offending behaviour by working through issues with their youth offending team worker, family and social worker. Foster carers in this role must be flexible as the placements are usually short term, sometimes just overnight and quite often made at short notice, sometimes on the same day.

Skills & Qualities

Youth Justice foster carers need to be:
· available and at home during the placement
· non-judgmental
· resilient
· determined
· patient
· able to work with other key professionals
· able to befriend the young person

In return, a Youth Justice foster carer receives:
· ongoing specialist training
· holiday
· a competitive remuneration package
· regular supervision with a dedicated supervising social worker
· support meetings with other foster carers

When the young person is due in Court, Youth Justice foster carers help make sure they attend, sometimes attending the Court, police station, or solicitor’s office with them to give details of their progress. Usually, for this reason, the young person is willing to cooperate and work with their carer.

Other responsibilities include developing knowledge and skills through Fostering Devon’s comprehensive training program and attending support group meetings.

Applicants to the scheme are assessed to ensure they have the right skills and abilities to support a young person in their own home. The assessment process takes approximately 4 to 6 months over several visits. We will ask questions about yourself and your life and which help us build a picture of your strengths and abilities. You will also need to successfully complete local authority, DBS and medical checks, as well as providing satisfactory references.

All Youth Justice foster carers get full information about the young persons previous behaviour, criminal record and life experiences. The Fostering Devon placements team will work closely with you to ensure that the young person is well matched to your family circumstances.

We are currently recruiting, so if you are interested in becoming a Youth Justice foster carer please email fostering@devon.gov.uk or call 0345 155 1077 to request an information pack.