Advice on fostering with birth children at home

(10 Posts)
Klr1 Thu 23-Jan-14 22:49:57

Wondering if any foster careers can give me advice on how it really is looking after a child 'in care'? Hubby and I have been considering fostering for ages (me personally, always wanted to do it). We have 3 bc's at home and have just started the process to become foster carers. The SW who came round, obviously wanted to give as much insight as she could, but continuously talked about children who had been sexually abused who may then pose a risk to our children and therefore should basically not be let out of our sight for even a minute. I know and am fully expecting that any child who may be placed with us would have different needs/ behaviour but how common is it that a child who has been abused goes on to abuse? And would they even place a child like that with us knowing that we have 3 bc's at home? How can you invite a child into your home that you are supposed to be providing a loving and stable environment for and treat them like a criminal.....which is how I felt we would be from what the SW said. It is something I want to do, but obviously do not want to put my own children at risk like that. Any advice or insight greatly received.

Flothy Thu 23-Jan-14 23:41:35

Hiya, I'm a foster carer with two bc's. I went into fostering with the same concerns about my children and the impact on them. If I am truthful it is extremely difficult on your bc and we have had our very grounded and open children tell us that they don't want to foster anymore. But they have experienced a very rewarding and loving home from fostering and now wouldn't change it. The questions you ask about children and their history is like asking how long is a piece of string. We also stipulated that we would not be able to provide a home for child that may have a negative impact on our bc. But unfortunately the children do not usually come into care with full history especially if you are a short term carer. With our first placement abuse was only disclosed after they had been in our care for 6 months. We have also experienced abuse between siblings but it is a very secretive act and can be very difficult to discover. Saying all of this I wouldn't change my life for anyone's. My own children have struggled at times but they are doing extremely well at school and enjoy fostering. We are a strong family and I know if they were worried at all they would find it easy to talk to us, It is emotionally and physically draining but the rewards when a child blossoms will outweigh all the difficult times. I hope this helps a bit.

scarlet5tyger Fri 24-Jan-14 15:04:54

I agree totally with Flothy. I've cared for lots of children. Most of them (excepting those placed straight from hospital) are placed on the understanding that abuse may have taken place and even when it is very unlikely you are still required to follow a safe caring plan. Your children will have to wear PJ and dressing gown at bedtime/mornings, you will not be allowed to bath a FC with them, yourself and your husband will have to be fully dressed around FC at all times (no more popping to the loo in the middle of the night without a dressing gown and PJs on!), you are absolutely not allowed a FC in your bed so if you're used to letting your own children climb in with you this may have to stop....

There's lots and lots to think about.

And that's before you even begin to think about the violence that can come with a FC!

You do have to balance all this against the positive things caring for a FC can bring to your family though. I love it.

Klr1 Fri 24-Jan-14 18:48:56

Thank you. It does help a bit.....there is so so much to think about I feel like my head will explode. I want to do it because I think that our children have such a privileged life ( not materially, just warm, fed, comfortable, loved) and I would love to be able to offer, even briefly, a little of that stability and comfort to someone who may not know it exists. But on the flip side, because my children are so well balanced and happy do I really want to upset the apple cart by inviting the unknown in? Thanks again for responses.....trying to gather up as much info as possible.

Flothy Sat 25-Jan-14 01:05:02

The fact that you are thinking about the impact on your family and what you have to offer as a family shows that you have a lot to give to these children. We made the decision that we would only foster children younger than our own, we know a few other carers that also do the same. It has worked well for us.
Also whilst your sw is meant to support your bc, this is not always the case. SS has the best interest of the fc, which means whilst you are being an advocate for your fc you also need to juggle this with supporting your children.
I agree with scarlet5tyger children can be angry and show inappropriate behaviour but frequently it doesn't take long to make them feel safe.

Roshbegosh Sun 26-Jan-14 07:51:51

I agree fostering children younger than your own is sensible and you just have to keep a close eye on things. Your children will feel put out because so much of your time and attention will be diverted to the FC but they benefit too. They develop empathy and maturity by participating in fostering.

fostermonkey Sun 26-Jan-14 09:48:20

I am a FC and have two birth children. Our main concern was the impact on our kids too. My youngest was 6 when we first started.
I can honestly say that I think there have been many more positives than negative with regards to my own kids. They are more considerate, sharing and it has just become part of their life now.
We foster little ones because this means there is less impact on our kids. Our Local Authority will not let you foster children that are older than your own, and they usually want a 2 year gap between your youngest and the child you foster.
When a placement is offered to you, you will get one information, but not always lots. AND remember you can always say NO if it doesn't feel right.
The majority of kids that come into care are removed for neglect. The SW has to paint the worst picture possible - just in case. The training and meeting you will go to during training will also focus very much on the negatives - again this is to let you know the worse case scenario.
Good luck. Keep us posted. x

Klr1 Sun 26-Jan-14 15:25:46

Thank you all so much. The meeting with the SW really threw me......but I guess you are right, she would have to paint the worst possible picture. Nice to hear that the positives out weigh the negatives. Our youngest is nearly 4 and about to start school so fostering younger ones would basically mean babies and toddlers, which although they will bring issues and chaos of their own, would be easier for me to supervise. And as our kids get older they will become less vulnerable and the age range we can foster will expand.
Phew, will keep you all posted. we have just been told that our property is suitable and they have started writing the initial report on us......training in March if the report is passed. Here goes! X

zobey Tue 08-Apr-14 22:27:47

Any one started fostering when their be was 2 years old? She would be 3 when approved. Or do you think she is too young. 1st meeting with Ss tomorrow..

Starsandsun Wed 09-Apr-14 20:04:34

We're currently fostering a 2 yr old, and our bc are 4 and 6 (youngest still in preschool, starting reception in Sept). This is our first placement, and although all is going well, I have found it harder than I had expected. Mainly because of the effect on our bc. Especially the youngest has struggled with finding a new balance within the family, and she is a very happy, easy going child. She missed the days she was on her own with me, whilst the older one had more distraction from school. We're still happy we made the decision, and we can see evryone has refound their place within the family, but there were days I despaired during the first few weeks. (One weekend there was lots of crying going on from all 3, whilst we had a very happy, calm life before the fostering, and I had to really keep telling myself this would pass..).
The fc has settled quite quickly, and although we see signs of a troubled background, so far it has been more a case of feeling very sorry for him, and wanting to help him as much as we can, instead of it being difficult or disruptive within the family.
On a very positive note, it feels great that , as a family, we are able to provide a safe and loving home for a fc, and I am very proud that our bc have been able to overcome their battles and are so accepting of the little one and include them in their lives.

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