Your kids and your decision to offer foster care

Your kids and your decision to offer foster care

Common-sense strategies to help your children thrive and get the most out of the changes in your household.

Providing full-time or long-term foster care can be an incredibly rewarding experience for families with children. A key factor for parents considering whether they will make the decision to open their home to a child in need is the potential impact on their own children.

If you are thinking about becoming a foster carer, particularly for an extended timeframe, here are some common-sense strategies to help your children feel comfortable with changes in your household dynamic.

  1. Make sure that the decision to foster a child or children is shared across your family unit – your children included.
  2. Limit particularly sensitive information about foster children where it’s appropriate (for example concerning experiences).
  3. Find ‘protected’ time to spend with your kids to help avoid feelings of being excluded or forgotten after the introduction of a new member of the household.
  4. Help your children get to know more about the child or children they will be sharing their home with.
  5. Be open to and encourage discussions about any difficulties your kids experience to help them to cope with change.
  6. Prepare children in the foster family for the ending of placements that can occur in foster care arrangements.

“It’s very important to provide opportunities to get information about what to expect”, says Ana from Baptcare’s foster care team.

“Baptcare offers support for children whose families foster care. It helps them to understand what to expect - feelings or situations they might experience and ways that they can approach potential issues if they come across them”.

“Carers tell us that it can be very rewarding to witness foster children mature and develop with the stability and support that longer foster care placements provide. And they tell us that it offers their kids a unique opportunity to learn more about the world they live in and how they can make a real difference in the lives of others”.

Read our blog post How fostering benefits your own children

Baptcare is looking for carers in Melbourne's western and inner northern suburbs. Call 13 22 78 (13 BAPTCARE) to find out more.

Sources: Ingrid Höjer, Judy Sebba and Nikki Luke The impact of fostering on foster carers’ children