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Foster carers' children recognised for their crucial role

Sons and daughters who welcome foster children in to their own families are being recognised as part of Sons and Daughters' Month (1-31 October).

ZoeandAva

The brain child of The Fostering Network, this annual campaign celebrates and recognises the incredible contribution that foster carers' own children make in helping to create welcoming and loving families for foster children.

Once again, Foster Swansea is supporting the national awareness month in recognition of the hard work, support and love that sons and daughters give within their fostering family.

Many people say that the potential impact on their birth children is one of the major barriers to becoming a foster carer. However, just over 40% of Foster Swansea's carers have birth or adopted children still living at home and their presence can make a real difference to foster children, helping them to settle in to their new home.

Zoe Williams and her husband, have been fostering for seven years, and have a nine year old daughter (pictured). They couldn't be prouder of how Ava has responded to being part of a fostering family. Zoe said: "Ava was two years old when we started fostering and she amazes me every day with how kind and sensitive she is with the children. She is selfless as she has to share not only both her parents but her grandparents as well.

"She welcomes the children and helps them feel safe. Fostering has helped her become a caring little girl not only at home, but at school where if she sees another child struggling, she will make sure they are okay. We are so proud of her - she is such a special, lovely little girl and I honestly believe it's because we have fostered."

Whilst sons and daughters have to share their parents and their home, it is widely acknowledged by carers' own children that they find being part of a foster family extremely rewarding, with many keeping in touch with the children and young people after they move on.

Foster carers' own children frequently say that they benefit hugely from being part of the support network offered by a fostering family to a fostered child. Seeing life from another's perspective can be an enriching experience and can help a child learn and develop as an individual. There are many skills and lessons that can be learnt from growing up in a fostering household, which is why the theme for this year's Sons and Daughters Month is #FosteringTeachesYou.

Alfie, 10 and Rosie, 8, (pictured) are siblings and enjoy being part of a family that fosters.

Rosie&Alfie

Alfie said: "Being part of a fostering family means that you get to help children and their families. I have learnt many skills. I have learnt to be patient especially when younger children have tantrums. I have learnt to get along and play with different age groups. Since having a foster brother, I can see the difference I have made in his life and personality. I hope my family can help other children. My wish is for more people to get involved in fostering and help other children out there that need help."

Rosie added: "I am proud to be part of a foster family. I get to help and meet other children. I have a foster brother and I love playing with him. I have taught him to share and be patient. We have so much fun together and I love him very much. I get to go to fun places with Foster Swansea. My favourite one so far is either the LC or Limitless but all of them were so much fun."

The Foster Swansea team set up a support group for their foster carers' own children so that they felt supported and could speak to other children who are part of a fostering family.

Councillor Elliott King, Cabinet Member for Children's Services (Early Years), said: "Fostering has a huge impact on the whole household so it's extremely important that sons and daughters are recognised and appreciated for everything that they do. They share their parents and home, as well as sometimes cope with difficult and challenging behaviour. Despite these difficulties, they are constantly making such a positive impact in the lives of the children and young people that have been or are still in their family's care. They undoubtedly play a crucial role in helping foster children settle into their new homes, as well as providing vital support to the some of the most vulnerable children in the county and wider area." 

Councillor Sam Pritchard, Cabinet Member for Children's Services (Young people), added: "They provide a loving brotherly or sisterly relationship and support them during a very difficult time in their life, but sons and daughters also have to cope with the changes and challenges of having foster children in their family.

"Despite the challenges of fostering, many say that they would recommend it to other families. In fact, we have several sons and daughters who have gone on to become foster carers themselves.

"Thank you to all the sons and daughters of our foster carers; we truly appreciate everything they do to improve foster children's lives."

The whole family will be involved in the decision to foster and the assessment process. Foster Swansea run a specific sons and daughters support group where activities and event occur throughout the year. It's a chance to meet other children from families who foster and share their experiences in a fun and safe environment.

Foster Swansea provides foster carers with professional training and a chance to gain qualifications, as well as extensive support from a qualified and experienced team. In addition, they receive a competitive financial package.

  • For further information about becoming a foster carer, call 0300 555 0111 or visit www.fosterswansea.org.
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