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The benefits of fostering for your children

Tuesday 04 June 2024

By taking on a foster child, you provide them with a stable and supportive environment so they have the best childhood possible that sets them up for success. Not only do you give benefits to those in your care, but also if you have children of your own. The benefits of foster care can be plentiful to your immediate family.

How your children benefit from foster care

They will develop caring skills of their own

Particularly at young ages, children are incredibly perceptive and their brains are like sponges, soaking up information much more quickly than adults. Witnessing for themselves your fostering practices will help your birth children understand the skills required when caring for your foster child.

Practising positive parenting with your foster children gives your birth children an opportunity to see and understand proper caregiving and empathy. Witnessing this at a young age is more likely to make an impression so that they may repeat these responsible behaviours in their own lives.

They will become more understanding

Many children are born into families where they have the proper support and care that a parent should provide. However, foster children have often not been given the privilege of a tight-knit family that is stable and healthy. This is why foster carers are so important.

Not only do foster carers give foster children the requirements parents should provide, they also highlight why they are there in the first place. By giving some understanding of their situation to your own children, it gives them a unique perspective on how some children, and people in general, are less fortunate. In turn, they become more grateful for their own circumstances and environment, and more generous and empathetic as they grow up.

They will gain a sibling-like relationship

Although not strictly a sibling, the relationship between your current children and your foster child can be similar to a sibling relationship. The benefits of having siblings can help your foster child grow into a more rounded individual, as well as having benefits for your birth children too:

  • Sibling relationships promote empathy, a trait that is valuable with foster children.
  • Achievements in both academia and sports are promoted when a child has a sibling.
  • Sibling relationships can be a source of support for your child.
  • It can teach key skills such as sharing, patience and sociability.

Even though sibling relationships are healthy for a child’s well-being for the reasons mentioned above, there’s one that rides above them all. When fostered correctly, having a sibling means having a friend for life, offering companionship through life’s journey and all the benefits that come with it like personal development and reducing stress.

What to be aware of when fostering with birth children

Fostering with birth children can have its challenges too. Being aware of what these are, it will help you avoid them in the future and establish a healthy foster and birth child relationship.

Mimicking or copying behaviour

Foster children can display challenging behaviour, due to the nature of their traumatic and unsettling experiences, particularly with adults. Witnessing inappropriate behaviour from the foster child may mean that your children copy or mimic the behaviour, thinking it’s acceptable.

Difficulty sharing

Particularly if your children aren’t used to having other children around regularly like they would be if they had a brother or sister, your children might find it difficult to share with your foster child. However, once they understand the need for sharing, especially with foster children, this can be enough to get them to become more comfortable with sharing their belongings, time and space.

Some grievance when the placement ends

One of the great things about having a foster child while also having children of your own, is it gives each of them companionship. When the foster child leaves your care, this can trigger a sense of loss in your children and cause them to grieve. Although it can be disruptive, this can be managed if you explain the fostering process to your birth child/ren and encourage them to keep in contact with your foster child once they leave your care.

We’re always on hand to help

We understand that bringing a foster child into your home has the potential to change the dynamic your birth children are used to. Because of this, our fostering teams are with you every step of the way. They will provide you with the right training necessary and are always on hand to provide support as and when any issues arise.

Can you make a difference?

Around the country, dozens of children enter the care system every day – children who can’t live at home through no fault of their own. We work with local authorities in every region of the UK to meet the growing demand for all types of fostering. Can you become a foster carer and make a difference to a child’s future?

We offer a generous fostering allowance, with exclusive perks and benefits, free training (including specialisms) and exceptional support from your local team of fostering professionals.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible, try our Can I Foster? tool, which answers common questions about suitability to foster, based on a personalised Q and A style format. The outcome might surprise you! If you’re ready to chat with one of our fostering advisors, contact your local team.

Find out if you could be a foster carer
Find out if you could be a foster carer
In a few simple questions, you’ll know if you’re suitable to apply to become a foster carer.