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Age of birth children when applying to foster

(17 Posts)
BigBlueBookcase Wed 24-Jun-15 20:41:07

I'm looking into fostering and I have a birth child aged 2.5. I thought this might be too young for now, but having read through lots of threads, I see there are foster carers about with very young birth children. I guess every agency/LA has different requirements with regard to this, but am I right in thinking that my DC's current age wouldn't necessarily be a barrier to applying?

I'll ring round some agencies and the LA tomorrow, but I thought I'd ask here whilst I was reading some of the threads. smile

Kitsandkids Thu 25-Jun-15 00:22:20

In my LA birth children have to be 2 years older than foster children. So if you have a 2 year old you could take newborns.

It can take a year or so to go through the process and get approved though, so your little one might be nearing 4 by then; in which case you could take babies and young toddlers.

BigBlueBookcase Thu 25-Jun-15 08:11:17

Thanks Kitsandkids. Is respite care for older children possible if you have a young BC? I was wondering about starting with respite care until DS is settled in school. But then, like you say, he'll be getting close to school age anyway by then... smile

Twopots Thu 25-Jun-15 11:58:12

My daughter was 2 when we started the process but was 4 by the time we qualified and we only take babies. You can do respite with babies, it's all a matter of showing how you would cope and the support network you have around you :0)

BigBlueBookcase Thu 25-Jun-15 18:06:33

Thanks Twopots. Spoke to the LA today, info evening in a couple of weeks. smile

flyhigh Fri 26-Jun-15 18:09:24

We have bc aged between 18mth and 14yrs and foster children aged inbetween.

BigBlueBookcase Fri 26-Jun-15 21:58:54

Thanks flyhigh...that's good to know. smile

Disneyfan1995 Sat 27-Jun-15 22:42:38

When we made initial enquiries DS was nearly 3 and DD 5. It took nearly a year to get approved. We only foster under 2's, that way the FC cannot talk and tell our DC what they have been through. Our own children love fostering and nag us in between placements for the next one smile

BigBlueBookcase Sun 28-Jun-15 19:50:29

Disneyfan, that's lovely to read about your DCs. smile My mum was suggesting today that it may be too soon for my DS. Her view was that if he sees all these other children coming and going, he might start thinking that he'll be going away too... I don't share her views, I think with a strong attachment and no experience of ever living anywhere else or with anyone else, I don't think it would enter my son's head that he might have to go away...but I'd be interested to know what others think?

Disneyfan1995 Sun 28-Jun-15 21:50:24

BigBlue we always made it very clear to our kids that the FC are here temporarily (although one stayed for 18 months!), that doesn't stop them loving and caring for the FC. Endings are hard, but we make a list of things we want to do as a family for when the placement ends.
My mum was not keen on us fostering, saying we'd damage and distress our DC, but we stuck to our guns, after all as parents we know our children the best. Feel free to PM me if you want more info smile

BigBlueBookcase Mon 29-Jun-15 22:02:16

Thanks Disneyfan, I'll definitely pick your brain via PM when I have a bit of time. smile

SantaLucia91 Wed 01-Jul-15 10:25:11

Hi there, BigBlueBookcase. My own kids were 2 and 4 when we applied to foster. Younger one had just turned three when we were approved and got our first foster child, a newborn baby. What helped our children understand the situation was that we made sure they realised that Baby did have a Mummy, but that she wasn't able to look after him at the moment so that's what we were doing for her. We talked about her when Baby went for contact and when eventually the baby was placed for adoption we talked to our children about the SW finding him a new Mummy and Daddy. All this of course needs to be done age appropriately and without telling them anything confidential that they could tell to all and sundry!

My son did have a bit of an anxious time when he started wondering what would happen to him if his Mummy couldn't look after him. Would he need to go into foster care etc but we were able to reassure him by talking about all his wider family and how he had lots of people around him who would be able to look after him if Mummy temporarily couldn't.

Ten years down the line I think it has been a very positive experience for our children to have foster children in the house. I was quite touched to find out recently my older one has just given a talk about fostering in his GCSE English class! They definitely see that they are part of the fostering role and the younger one is currently adamant that he will be a foster carer himself as an adult.

scarlet5tyger Wed 01-Jul-15 12:30:00

I agree fostering can be a huge positive for birth children, but just want to play devils advocate and highlight some of the downsides.

Most children coming into care at the moment are older children, or sibling groups - I foster for my local authority (a large one) and I think only 2 babies have been removed this year unless part of a sibling group. Would your child feel put out no longer being number one?

Likewise, respite is rare at the moment - no idea why as FCs here aren't paid when a child is in respite, and there are lots of carers without placements who would be happy to assist. My LA haven't recruited respite carers for a long time now.

You need to consider that lots of family things you currently do may have to change - e.g, you can't bath a foster child with your own children; dressing gowns have to be worn (by all children and adults) over PJs; you can't have a foster child into your bed to watch TV or Sunday morning snuggles - if you do this with your own kids you need to consider how a FC will feel not being included.

Also, even the youngest children come with problems. I never, ever leave a FC unattended with other children (even to pop out of the room for a second) as if a foster child makes an allegation against your child it WILL be taken seriously. Plus even after many months foster children can display unknown behaviour (especially as they become more secure).

A large proportion of the week is taken up by contact - usually around 3 times a week but can be more. You don't often have a say as to when this takes place. If it's smack bang in the middle of your child's nap time you'll have to work round that. If it's your child's nursery time you'll have to work round that. Contact centres are usually calm, well managed places but they can also be chaotic, full of angry parents with emotions running high. The centre I take my FC to have the police on speed dial - and yes the number is used!

I don't want to put you off - I love fostering - but it's far from easy, especially with young birth children.

mum2tots Wed 01-Jul-15 14:33:06

We have been fostering for 14 months now. We have our own 4 and 6 year old, who were 2 and 5 when we got approved. We've had a 2 year old placed with us who has been here for 9 months now. It works really well for all of us, yes there are lots of issues around safegaurding and changing lots of routines. We couldn't do opening of xmas presents in our room any more and things like that.

We are moving LO onto adoption soon so will be interesting to see if the next placement works as well.

BigBlueBookcase Thu 02-Jul-15 20:30:59

Thanks so much SantaLucia, Scarlet and mum2tots, all very helpful posts.

Funny, I was thinking of Christmas Day morning yesterday mum2tots...we open stockings in my bedroom but presents downstairs and it crossed my mind that we'd no longer be able to do that. smile

Do those of you with birth children only have foster children who are younger than your BCs? I can't work out whether that's the only option with my LA. The SW I spoke to from the LA seemed to be saying that that would be my only option, but then went on to ask me what age I would be willing to take and talked about older children. Info evening next week, so I'm sure they'll make it clear then.

SantaLucia91 Fri 03-Jul-15 01:43:58

I have only fostered children younger than my birth children, but that's certainly not a blanket rule in our LA. So for example I know a couple whose birth children are 2 and 4 who foster two girls aged about 11 and 15. I know another couple who have a five year old birth child and foster an older boy. I think he's in his first year of secondary school. The key seems to be to put quite a significant age gap between birth kids and foster kids but not necessarily with the birth kids older.

Cassimin Fri 03-Jul-15 08:23:43

We waited until ours were older until we fostered. Youngest was 14. We decided to do this to ensure ours could understand that FC might have difficulties and would take a lot of my time and attention. We thought this would be best for our family. We were able to devote all of our time to our BC and we were able to enjoy holidays all over the world. We didn't think we would be able to do this as our plan was for short term.
Plan a went out the window though and we are now 3 years into long term with a 6 year old!
It has was hard for my children even at their ages to understand the behaviour of some of the children we had and I'm glad we didn't put them through it when they were younger.
We are now going through all the problems and restrictions of having a little one again but we wouldn't change a thing.
It is definitely an individual choice. Whatever works best for your family.
In all honesty if SW is desperate to place child I don't think they will care about ages. It is up to you to accept or refuse when they contact you.

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