If you're considering becoming foster carers and have children of your own who are still living at home, you will no doubt be wondering what impact fostering will have on them.
At asphaleia fostering, we value the whole fostering family and recognise that every individual in that family unit is important when it comes to the fostering journey.
With that in mind, we wanted to write this blog post to give some guidance on how to involve your children in your decision to foster, how birth children are involved in the application process and beyond, and what kinds of support they might have from the agency throughout your fostering career.
Whatever age your children are, if they're still living at home they will be impacted by the presence of another child or children in their home.
We'd recommend involving your children in your decision-making process by having a family conversation about fostering. Try to lead an open and honest discussion about the changes that will occur, and what their thoughts and feeling are around sharing their parent/s. If children feel listened to it can go a long way to helping them accept your decision.
the application process
As part of your assessment, your assessing social worker would interview your children individually and alone. They will also receive a workbook by BAAF called, 'My Family Foster'. You will work through this with them and it will help them understand fostering and open up potential questions and concerns that they may have. Older children will undertake a Safe Caring course.
The assessing social worker will obtain references from schools or colleges your children attend and any young person aged 17+ who is a permanent resident in your home will be need to complete an enhanced DBS check.
During the application process, the relevant agency staff will begin to build a relationship with your birth children so they can feel at ease and able to express themselves along the way.
an ongoing relationship
Your supervising social worker will meet with your children regularly to get feedback about how they are finding the fostering experience. It is also made clear to them that they can contact us if they need somebody to talk to. For children who are struggling, we can offer them support from our pastoral and mental health lead.
bringing the wider family together
As an agency we feel it is important to hold events where we can bring all our fostering families together, including wider family members such as aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, who are already in regular with the fostered children or child.
Before COVID, we held a bake off event and had a summer BBQ. Unfortunately the pandemic has meant we haven't been able to gather in recent years but we are hoping to do so as soon as we can once the situation is more stable. We know these events are extremely positive for helping birth children feel involved.
how do they find it?
Feedback from birth children has included comments like:
The house is more lively.
We do fun things together.
It's good having the opportunity to teach other children new things such as, riding a bike, caring for pets, and learning to play a new game.
The main thing birth children can find challenging is the number of meetings involved in being a foster family.
This, and a number of other questions may be going around your mind as you consider becoming a foster carer. Our fostering manager, Kim, would love to go for a coffee with you to answer any questions you may have and discuss your situation.