The Foster4 team receive lots of enquiries from people who want to be foster carers but have questions about the impact fostering may have on their own birth children.
On this page we aim to answer some of the common questions we often get asked, feature video interviews & case studies of sons and daughters who are growing up alongside their foster siblings, or who have experience of growing up in a fostering household.
We know just how much valuable help and friendship sons and daughters give to the foster children and young people who join their fostering household. Foster4 is committed to ensuring that foster carer’s own birth children & young people also feel supported so that fostering is a positive experience for the fostered child, the carer and their own sons and daughters.
There’s always a lot to take in when you live in a fostering household and you probably have a few questions you want the answers to. Here are a few common question and answers that have been written by sons and daughters, for sons and daughters...
When you have a foster child staying at your home it would be lovely for you to share some of your toys and games with them to help them settle in and feel part of the family. If your TV is in your bedroom you won’t have to share it. If you have special toys or items that you don’t want to share then you don’t have to. Ask Mum or Dad to find a special place to keep your special things.
Yes you will definitely still be able to go on holiday and most children that come to stay will be able to go on holiday with you too. Lots of foster children have not had fun family holidays so it will be extra exciting for them to be able to go on holiday with you!
Yes definitely! Foster children may not have been used to having nice days out, so again they will enjoy sharing these special times with you as a family. It’s important for you to still have ‘special’ times out with your Mum and Dad on your own too, so you don’t have to share them all the time!
When you have had your fostering assessment to become a foster family, your supervising social worker will get to know lots about you as a family and will ask you to look after children who will fit well into your family. If you didn’t like your foster brother or sister you need to talk to your Mum/Dad and/or your supervising social worker who will try to help you get along. Or help you know when to take some time for yourself. You can also talk to the other sons and daughters in the support group about how you are feeling as they will probably know all about this! It is natural to not get on with your foster brother or sister some of the time, but it is important to tell someone so you can be helped to work things out.
It is important to tell someone you trust like your Mum or Dad, a teacher or your supervising social worker so that this can be sorted out. Bullying is not okay, but foster children may be acting out as a result of how they have been brought up at home before they came to live with you.
Of course! You will always have Christmas presents. Your foster brother(s) and sister(s) will also have presents when they live with you. It may feel like they have a lot of presents as they will have presents from their own family and presents from you as their foster family! There will be lots of wrapping paper!
When your parent(s) are having their fostering assessment the Supervising Social Worker will also want to talk to you to make sure you are happy to be part of a fostering household, as we know what an important part sons and daughters play in supporting their foster brothers and sisters. You will have a Fostering Support Worker come to visit you to check out your feelings by playing games, drawing and sharing. You will be able to come along to a Skills to Foster group with other children whose parents are training to be foster carers.
When you are ‘approved’ as a foster family, you will get to come along to fostering family activities and events in the school holidays which are great fun! These are especially for children of foster carers where you can chat about your feelings, play games and get out and about.
As a fostering family your parent(s) will have regular visits from their own Supervising Social Worker in your home. They will want to check in with you too from time to time to make sure you are getting along with any foster children that come to stay, to find out what you are enjoying most about fostering and of course help to answer any questions or worries you may have. Fostering is all about family so there is lots of support available!
Your friends will always be special to you, but foster brother(s) or sister(s) will get to know those friends when they come over to your house or maybe when you go out on outings altogether. This helps foster children to feel settled with you and your family. Your friends will still be ‘your’ friends.
No!!! You will always be special to your Mum and/or Dad and they want to foster because they want to help other children to blossom and enjoy their childhood just like you! You may have to share their time but you will not be ignored!
Try to understand that it’s not their fault, as they may be just ‘acting out’ because of their home situation.
You can help them by talking to them about better ways to behave, help them with their pleases and thank yous (the magic word!), involve them in your home routine.
If they are old enough get them involved in sharing some household chores so they feel part of the family. Tell your parents how you feel.
Katie & Ben are part of a fostering family who care for young children on a short term basis. They have helped lots of children 0-5yrs to move back home, onto other family members or onto adoption.
Whilst it can be hard saying goodbye to foster children, the family make sure they have a final special day to remember. As this month’s Fostering Network’s sons and daughters theme is #fostermagic , Katie & Ben share their memories of one of those extra special goodbyes...
It was James’s last day and we were trying to hold back the tears, as the memories flashed before our eyes. We packed up the cars to head to Prestatyn beach, all 13 of us including the two dogs. When we arrived we knew that it was going to be a great, fun, sad and exciting day.
We headed down to the beach and ran towards the water and made a splash as we fell in and then we ran back to the others to play in the sand, then we had to rinse our hand in the sea and sanitise them so our food did not taste horrible. About 30 minutes later the tide came in, so we had to run to the car - it was very funny.
As the day was not over we came up with the idea to drive down to Rhyl, we paid for 15 tokens so we could go on the rides. As our the shoes where rubbing we bought some Crocks and trainer socks. We were all a bit hungry so we went to a Mr whippy van for a 99 ice cream, it was delicious but then the adventure had to come to an end.
We drove home and had a McDonald’s, the day was amazing but it does not end there. We went to my Nanna and Grandad’s home to say goodbye and sadly James had to go to bed and so we all went to give him a hug goodnight and that was the end of our last day.
As you can see, foster carer’s own children play a BIG role in welcoming foster children and supporting them to move on when they need to. Making memories for those children is a vital part of the support foster families offer, helping children to make those transitions as positive an experience as possible, whilst recognising their own feelings too.
We are Emma and Sam Dawson aged 17 and 14 and we have been fostering for 7 years now. We have two long term placements, a 15 year old brother and a 10 year old sister. We have also done respite, daycare and short term baby placements 0-2 years. This article is about how we have helped our foster brother and sister become part of our family.
With our first long term foster brother, we used to have talks every Sunday after breakfast about how the week had gone and if there was anything he was unsure about or if there were any problems we had during the week. This helped him to hear what was positive and negative during the week. It helped him feel loved and nurtured, and that he could build his trust in us. It also gave us as a family an opportunity to understand our foster brothers needs and worries. The routine of this always being on a Sunday helped everyone to collect their thoughts and reflect on what happened in the week. We think this was a big help for everyone in the house as it helped us understand our own individual needs. Our foster brother has now been with us for 7 years and it feels like they have always been with us.
Our second long term foster sister moved in a year and a half ago. They were slightly different to our foster brother as they didn’t have much of an idea on how to be in a family environment with other children. The trauma of having lots of homes before coming to us was very hard for her to trust us. We decided that to help her feel part of our family, we needed routines so we created a “Jobs Rota”. This helped our foster sister have an input on how the house is run as well as seeing that being part of a family is working together as a team. Alongside the jobs rota, we also created an operations board where she can easily see that she is included within the family. On the operations board we also put our meals each day so that everyone can see what is being planned and rule out the uncertainty about being fed. This can be a huge problem and worry, as we have seen this a lot with fostered children. We discuss the forthcoming weeks meals so everyone gets a chance to say what they really fancy eating and again driving home inclusion in our family.
We hope that this is helpful for families starting the fostering process and that there may be some ideas people will take from this.