Fostering when you have your own children can be a truly rewarding experience that the whole family can share. Not only does it provide children in care with other young people in the household to engage with, it can also develop the social skills of your own children.
Many people rule out fostering if they have their own children (sometimes called ‘birth children’). There is a myth that children in care are ‘naughty’ or ‘badly behaved’, and that this behaviour will be learned, or will affect, other young people in the household. The truth is, there is a very detailed matching process that occurs prior to a young person coming to live with you. This helps to ensure that fostering will be a positive experience for all members of your household.
Many young people requiring a foster home benefit hugely from other children in the fostering household.
It could be that they needed to be placed away from their siblings, so having other young people in the household can be both therapeutic and a positive distraction. Other times it could simply be that they have someone closer to their own age that they can talk to, play with and even learn from.
Whatever their circumstances, birth children can help them feel welcome, help break the ice – and be a positive influence to help young people recover from any trauma they may have experienced.
“Having a child in the family helps new children to settle. I was definitely an ice breaker for each child as children naturally gravitate towards other children. It helped them see that I was loved equally to them and that they were a part of a family.”
Birth child of TACT foster carer
Fostering can have a profound and positive impact on your own children. It can teach them the value of sharing, both in terms of your parental time and their material possessions. It can teach them consideration, empathy, the importance of establishing relationships and can develop social skills.
Making a difference to another young person’s life can be something that your own children can feel proud of. Many birth children go on to become foster carers themselves because of the positive impact it has had on them.
“It has had a huge impact on the person I am today, making me more understanding and empathetic to people. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if my parents didn’t decide to foster.”
Birth child of TACT foster carer
From fostering enquiry through to approval and beyond, your own children will become a member of your fostering team – and their contribution will be priceless. Here is a breakdown of the various fostering stages, and how your children will be involved:
When you begin your fostering journey, you will be visited by a TACT Supervising Social Worker who will need to speak to all members of your household to ensure that everyone is on board with the decision to foster. This will include a consultation with your own children. It is important that your children are involved in all aspects of the application, as they will become an important part of your fostering ‘team’.
Your children will continue to contribute throughout the foster carer assessment process (called a ‘form F’). This section of the assessment will be in-depth, but will ensure that both you and your children are fully on board with the decision to foster.
Read more about your fostering journey.
When you are ready to begin fostering, your Supervising Social Worker will contact you about potential young people you could provide care for. Your social worker would have already taken into consideration a number of ‘matching’ factors such as:
• Your skills and experience as a foster carer
• The number of spare bedrooms you have (fostered children cannot share a bedroom with your birth children)
• The fact that you have your own children in the household (some children in care cannot be placed if there are other children in the household)
• The age(s) of your children
• Any specific needs of the young people, and how being placed with other children will affect them and your own children
If you and your household are happy with the ‘match’, you will be put forward as a potential foster carer for that young person. It is important to note that you will always have the final say on any potential placement.
In most cases, potential fostering placements begin with an introduction period. This is when the young person will visit your home, accompanied by someone from the fostering team. This gives both parties a chance to meet and evaluate if the fostering match should go ahead.
As with all the other steps within the fostering process, it is important that your birth children are involved in all introductions.
At TACT, we reinvest surplus income into providing support for birth children who foster. This is what we provide to your sons and daughters that help change other children’s lives:
“We always let Sophie show new children around the house. It’s not so scary coming into a new home when you’re being welcomed by another child. She helped them to understand the unconditional love of our family.”
You may still have some questions about fostering with your own children. Here are some of our FAQs:
Fostered children are unable to share a bedroom with your birth children. In addition, fostered children are also unable to share a bedroom with one another, unless they are same-sex siblings and it is deemed appropriate for them to be able to share by the Social Worker. This is to give them their own personal space to help them recover from any trauma they may have experienced. If you have your own children, you will need additional bedrooms to be able to foster.
It is completely possible to foster children the same age as your own child, however there are many other factors that we will be considering along with the age of the children. This includes your skills and experience as a foster carer, your children’s experience of fostering so far and the needs of the young person coming into your care.
Yes it is possible to foster if you have a baby. However, whilst there are no solid rules or boundaries in terms of how old your own children must be before you can start fostering, we would recommend not starting a fostering application until you are settled with your own young children.
We will work closely with you and the other members of your household to help ensure that fostering is always a positive experience for everyone involved.
Sadly, there is a misconception that many of the young people who come into care are badly behaved, however this is not true. Just like any other child, a foster child will need love, care, and boundaries. Whilst fostering can be challenging, TACT is here to support you 24/7. You will have a team of professionals and support networks on hand to help and assist you.
We also take great care in considering the needs of the foster children who will be coming to live with you to ensure it is the most appropriate match for you and your family.
If your question still remains unanswered, you can either call us on 0330 123 2250 or you can make a no-obligation enquiry today by completing the enquiry form on this page.