Can I foster if I have birth children?

Fostering alongside birth children – what do I need to know?

Fostering is something that is often considered by people once their children have left home. Or by people who have not had children of their own. Increasingly we’re getting questions from people wanting to foster who have birth children living in the home. This month sees the Fostering Network celebrate Sons and Daughters Month. This marks the contribution children make to fostering. Therefore, we thought it was the perfect time to address the subject.

What should you consider if you want to foster alongside your own children?
  • Involve your children in your discussions, fact finding and in the application and assessment. Eastern Fostering Services have many carers who have their own children still living at home. We go to great lengths to ensure that children feel ownership of the decision to foster.
  • Make sure your fostering provider has the capacity and desire to support children of fostering families. Our supervising social workers support the children of our carers. They spend time with them, listening to their feelings and opinions and supporting them alongside the carers.
  • Matching is always important. However, it is made even more so where carers are fostering alongside their own children. Speak to your fostering provider about how they will ensure the well-being of your children when it comes to placing with you.
  • Ask your fostering provider if they can or do provide training or pastoral care for children of fostering families.
What are the advantages of fostering alongside your children?
  • Birth (or adopted) children can play a vital role in modelling how things work in your family. It can be difficult for a fostered child to come into a new family and try to suss out what the rules and dynamics are, how you treat one another and what is and is not acceptable within the family. Children model this and can really help others to settle in to family life.
  • Looked after children are often under a high degree of scrutiny which can be hard to handle. Having other children in the household dilutes this scrutiny and can help to normalise things.
  • Foster carers can learn a lot from their children. Generally, children are great at meeting people where they are at. They don’t overanalyse and can often help diffuse tricky situations. They are often able to form good relationships with fostered children as they are unthreatening (where matching has been well thought out).
  • Fostering encourages children to look outside of themselves and helps them to develop empathy and insight. In successful fostering, brought about by good matching, children build resilience and can gain great value from the fostering experience.
  • Many of our Sons and Daughters play a major role in fostering and we hugely value their contribution. We’d like to thank each and every one of them.

Should you wish to talk to us about fostering, you can email us at, visit our Facebook page at or you can drop in to one of our events. Our next one is in Peterborough on 29th October at the Queensgate shopping Centre or you can pop into our offices on 7th November. Check out our events page on facebook for more information.