Children of foster carers

If your mum or dad are foster carers, or are thinking about becoming foster carers, then you are an important part of our fostering service and this section is for you. We will try to answer your questions and give you more information about what it means to be part of a foster family.

We know it is asking a lot for a child to share their parents and their home with children they do not know, but it can also be fun and rewarding.

If you cannot find the answers you are looking for here you can contact us.

My family is thinking about fostering, what should I do?

When your family decides that they want to become foster carers they should talk to you about it and see what you think. If you have any worries or concerns you should tell your parents straight away.

It is important that you are comfortable and happy with their plans. Having a child or young person come to stay with you has to work for everyone in the family.

Why do children and young people need foster families?

Children can need a foster family for lots of different reasons. It might be because the person who looks after them is ill, or because their own mum and dad don’t know how to look after them properly.

Some mums and dads have problems that they need help with. While they are getting help, their own children have to stay somewhere else.

Some children need a safe and happy place to come to and need to be in a family like yours until their own family is ready to manage things better.

What will happen if my family want to become foster carers?

The first thing that will happen is that a social worker will visit your family to tell them all about fostering. If you are there when the social worker visits, you will be able to ask them questions, or you can tell your parents what your questions are and they can ask the social worker for you.

Before your family can become a foster family your parents will have to do some training. This will help them decide if it’s what they really want to do.

While your parents are doing their training you will be invited to come to a group called “Sons and Daughters”. This is a group where you can meet other children and young people whose parents are thinking about fostering. You will learn more about fostering and how it will affect you.

What is a home study?

The home study is a way of finding out if your family would be able to care for other children. If your parents decide that they want to become foster carers then a family placement worker from the fostering team will visit your home regularly.

During these visits you will get a chance to speak to the family placement worker on your own so that you can ask them any questions you might have. They will want to know what you think about children coming to live with you, so it’s really important that you are honest and tell them how you feel.

When the family placement worker has all the information they need, they will write a home study report. This is used to decide if your family can become a foster family.

Who will come to live with my family?

Children and young people who need foster homes can be any age, from babies up to teenagers.

Your parents will decide what age group of children or young people they would like to come and stay with you. They will also be able to decide how many children or young people can come and stay with you, and for how long.

What do I need to do when someone comes to live with my family?

Children like you are really important in helping their parents become foster carers. When a child comes to stay with you they may be frightened, or shy, or upset.

You can help make them feel welcome just by talking to them, this can take their mind off missing their own family and stop them from being so scared. You will also need to show them where everything is and tell them all about yourself and your family.

Will I have to share my things?

If you have a brother or sister you will know how difficult it is to share things. Sometimes having another child to stay will be hard. You might have to share your room, or sometimes the person who has come to stay with you might take some of your things.

It is really important that you speak to your parents if you are finding this difficult to cope with. To help with this it can be good to have some house rules, and for everyone to try and keep them.

Everyone needs their own space, so perhaps there is somewhere in your home that can be your place to go if you need time on your own.

What is respite?

Sometimes sharing your parents and brothers and sisters can be really hard. Respite can give you time on your own with them. Respite is when the child, or young person, staying with you goes to live with another foster family for a short break.

They will come back to live with your family again after they have had maybe a weekend or a week away.

How long will they stay with us?

Children and young people need foster homes for different lengths of time. Sometimes they may come to stay with you for just a few days, or a couple of weeks. Sometimes they may need somewhere to stay for months or even longer.

Your parents will be able to tell you what the plan is for each child or young person that comes to stay with you.

Who can I talk to?

As a child of foster carers you will be able to join the “Sons and Daughters” group, which includes children and young people like yourself whose parents are foster carers.

It is a fun group that meets up in the summer where you can make friends with other young people in the same situation as you.

If you are worried or anxious about any child or young person staying with you then you should talk to your parents.