The sons and daughters of foster carers make huge contributions to fostering and the lives of foster children.
Around half of households with fostered children also have birth or adopted children that live at home. They can make a real difference in a foster child’s life and often help them to settle into their new home. It isn’t unusual for families to consider having their own birth or adopted children as a barrier to becoming a foster carer. However, the truth is that many foster children will benefit from being part of a family and help them to develop as individuals.
It is important to support your birth children during the fostering process. Many sons and daughters of foster carers are happy to foster and will recognise the range of benefits that come with the experience. Previous studies have shown that a good proportion of foster carers birth children have gone on to become foster carers themselves, or have entered the profession in another way.
The children of foster carers have also reported that their role in the fostering process has enabled them to face challenges or negative experiences. Often birth children will feel unable to discuss concerns with their parents. Foster carers themselves may also find that they face dilemmas fostering as a birth parent. For example, they will want the best for their sons or daughters but will also want to give the best they can to the children they look after.
The challenge for birth parents lies in balancing all the children in the household, which could cause conflict. However, it will also help their children to develop a mature attitude in multiple aspects of life including social concern.
Every year, The Fostering Network runs a campaign to celebrate the huge and vital contribution made by the children of foster carers. Though the campaign isn’t until October, it’s something to look out for if you’re considering fostering but are worried about how it will affect your own children.