Here at Bradford Fostering, we use the phrase ‘children who foster’ to describe the children of foster carers who form part of the wider foster family. This also includes children who spend a lot of time with the adult who is a foster carer, such as grandchildren.
We spoke with several children who foster to learn more about their experiences as children who foster.
“Fostering is nice. I’m an only child, it gives me siblings to play with and it gives me the chance to help others” - Rizwa, aged 17
Community and culture
As a child who fosters, your children will be helping a child in need and learning more about the lives of other children.
They will also become part of a wider team and community, so will have plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.
If a foster child is from a different culture or religion to your own children, your children will benefit from learning more about our diverse Bradford community, have the opportunity to partake in different cultural events and learn more about the world as a whole.
“Each child is different, it’s never boring” - Rizwa, aged 17
Sharing and behaviour
If you have not fostered a child before, your child may not be used to sharing their parents with another child. This may be hard for your children at first.
For example, if your foster child displays negative behaviours, your own children may have questions which you cannot fully answer.
Here at Bradford Fostering, we offer training for family members and 24/7 support from our experienced team, so your whole family feel prepared for their fostering roles.
Children and young people also take part in a special training course to learn more about their roles, how their family may change and how they can make a foster child feel comfortable and safe.
“The biggest sacrifice for me was sharing my parents. Your parents are not completely yours anymore. But you know you’re doing a good thing” - Fatima, aged 21
When a foster child moves into a home, there may be some additional house rules to keep all members of the household safe.
This may include asking everyone to knock on a closed door and ask for permission before entering.
Most house rules will be in place for all members of the family, so you can support each other and ask questions with one another if you are unsure.
It is important that any visitors to your home are also made aware of your house rules, as this can help with reinforcement and provide stability for your children.
“The rules are not hard, you just get used to them” - Maryam, aged 11
Sometimes a foster child may want to share secrets with a child who fosters. It is important that your child knows they cannot promise to keep any secrets.
If a foster child decides to share something with a child, it is important for the child to tell their parents straight away.
This may be important information which Bradford Fostering may need to be informed about.
“Fostering has made me more open minded and sensitive. It is rewarding and challenging at the same time” - Fatima, aged 21
Likewise, a child who fosters may know things about a foster child that are considered sensitive, such as why the foster child entered care.
You should communicate with your child the importance and seriousness of not sharing sensitive information about the foster child with their friends.
This protects the child’s personal information and, if they want it, gives them the choice to tell their friends about their experiences when, and if, they are ready.
When a foster child joins your family, you will likely form a strong bond during their placement.
Therefore, it is important that you prepare your child for the possibility that your foster child may not live with your family permanently, especially if you foster children and young people on a short-term basis.
To help both your own family and your foster child during this time, you could create a memory book, which has photos and mementos of your happy memories.
Your family may also be able to stay in contact with the foster child. This is dependent on individual circumstances.
“We were devastated every time a child moved on, but we were excited when we knew a new child was coming” - Maryam, aged 11
Becoming a foster carer in Bradford changes lives. When you foster with Bradford Council, your whole family will receive extensive support and training so you feel ready to welcome a foster child into your home.
Would you like to learn more about fostering?
If you would like to support children and young people in the Bradford district, we would be delighted to hear from you. Book an information call back now and chat with our friendly team about life as a foster carer.
Alternatively, please download our information pack, which is filled with important information about the role of a foster carer and the Bradford Council fostering service.