The invaluable support that foster carers’ own children provide to their fostering families has been recognised during a national campaign.
Throughout October, as part of the Fostering Network’s Sons and Daughters month, Durham County Council has been shining a light on the difference carers’ children can make in fostering.
Florence Coulter, Durham County Council’s fostering team manager, said: “Carers’ own children can gain a lot from fostering. Not only do they play a key role in welcoming foster children in to a loving home, somewhere safe where they can start to move on from the difficult times they may have encountered, they also develop their own skills and experiences. They can learn patience, understanding and qualities that are invaluable for adult life.”
The council’s fostering service has a support group for foster carers’ own children known as the M8’s group. It provides an opportunity for children and young people to meet others whose parents also foster to share experiences and make new friends.
To say thank you for their vital contribution the M8’s group were invited to a celebration evening where they were enjoyed a fun night of bowling and trampolining, ending with a group meal.
Megan Humble, 15, is part of the group. She said: “I have met two great friends through fostering and attending the M8’s group. Now we spend a lot of time together, we go to each other’s houses, we are there if one of us needs to talk about something. It’s nice when someone else knows what it’s like at home. Friends from non-fostering families don’t always understand.”
The fostering service has also sent each child a thank you letter and card to show their appreciation.
Florence, added: “We really want to say a huge thank you to the children and young people who support their parents with fostering. This isn’t an easy thing to do, not only are you sharing your home with someone you don’t know, you’re also sharing your mum and dad.”
Victoria Gibson, 17, is one of four sisters in a fostering family. She said: “One of my favourite things about fostering is teaching the children who come to live with us how to do new things. It might be helping them read, or playing a new game, or how we set the table or go to new places on a day out. They might not have done these things before, but you don’t realise that at first.
“I’m really pleased our parents chose to become foster carers. They must get very little sleep, caring for us four as well as the foster children. They do an amazing job. Now I’ve had first-hand experience of fostering, it is something I would like to do in the future.”