A birth child of foster carers plays a pivotal part in changing the lives of vulnerable children and young people, something Foster Portsmouth is proud to recognise and celebrate again during Young Carer’s Action Day on 15 March.
11-year-old Tilly from Southsea, whose parents have provided long-term fostering for over two years, shared: “I would say to [other] children it might feel weird at first but the foster child soon becomes part of the family.”
Fostering does naturally impact the lives of birth children and this can be challenging at times including when having to share their belongings and parents’ time. Some of our children have also found it hard to say goodbye when the time comes and they can find the period when new children are settling in occasionally tricky.
However, at Foster Portsmouth the wellbeing of our foster carers’ children remains paramount and we work hard to ensure a good match for all the family as well as the child looking for a caring home. Birth children are included in fostering process and are kept informed how and in what ways they are likely to be affected. Training and age appropriate advice is also available for them, as well as peer and other foster family support if they are part of one of our first pioneering Mockingbird constellations.
Tilly, who has a half-sister, two half-brothers and a foster brother, added: “I have found the meetings that happen in my home challenging because they are in my lounge and I can’t watch TV.” However, Tilly also reported: “I really liked John, [the social worker] who did the application with us because he cared what I thought and played games with me.”
Birth children also benefit from growing up in a fostering household and regularly report back about how fostering enriches their lives by gaining social skills, learning about different upbringings and cultures, changing lives for the better, and often building lifelong friendships. Tilly commented, “Fostering has benefited my foster brother because we have taken him to lots of difference places.”
Some of our birth children also report back that they like meeting new people, particularly enjoy making them laugh, like having another sibling, and take pleasure in having a positive impact on their lives.
Tilly added: “Fostering has benefited me by teaching me to share. My foster brother is funny, caring, nice, gentle, loyal and fun to be with. My favourite experience has been going to Centre Parcs with my foster brother.”
Young Carers Action Day is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of the important role birth children perform within fostering arrangements, whilst showing our appreciation of their commitment to fostering and help transforming other children’s lives.
Tilly concluded: “I really love my foster brother. He means so much to me.”
The council welcomes all enquiries about fostering. This could be a short or long term placement for a child or siblings until they’re ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied minors or children with a disability, supported lodgings to develop their independent living skills, parent and baby placements, or respite care.
Anyone aged 21+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.
To enquire about fostering with Foster Portsmouth, or to arrange a 1:1 with one of our experienced team or existing foster carers, please fill in our contact form below, call 023 9283 4071 or email email@example.com.