What it’s really like to have a foster brother or sister

Foster children stock picture.
Foster children stock picture.
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A SUPPORT group has been set up for children whose parents have become foster carers.

The Birth Children’s Support Group gives young people the chance to share their experiences of becoming new brothers and sisters to children their parents have taken in.

Sue Allen, a supervising social worker with Fostering Kirklees, said: “It’s a massive commitment for the family and it’s quite life-changing, having someone they don’t know coming into the family and living with them.

“We started the support group because young people said they wanted to continue the support they get initially.”

The group held its first session in January, but it is not the only support that children in foster families get.

Ms Allen said: “The children have an important role because they become mentors to the young people coming into fostering care, and a friend to them.”

Since March 2011, Fostering Kirklees has run half-day courses for children, alongside the three-day courses their parents do when they start fostering.

A consultation last year showed that young people wanted that support to continue after their family had started fostering, so the Birth Children’s Support Group was founded.

It is open to children from foster families across Kirklees, as well as children whose parents are ‘family and friends’ carers that step in from time to time to care for a child they know.

Members of the group can discuss the challenges of being a child in a foster family, but also celebrate the positives.

Supervising social worker Barbara Coates said: “The young people have said what a positive experience it has been for them. Most of them said they enjoyed the fostering experience.”

Visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 389 0086.