The Impact of Fostering on Foster Carers’ Children - An international literature review
New international report published by the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford. Authors: Luke Nikki, Sebba Judy, Höjer Ingrid. This review of the international research on the impact of fostering on foster carers’ children was undertaken in order to identify the ways in which carers’ children might be more effectively prepared and supported when their families are fostering.
The main review questions were:
• How well are foster carers’ children prepared for life in a family that fosters?
• What is the impact of the presence of looked after children and young people on foster carers’ children?
Electronic databases and websites were used to identify 17 studies from the UK, US, Canada, Sweden, Belgium and Spain. Comparisons across countries are subject to limitations of different cultures and services. Studies identified for the review were published since 1990 and included details of foster carers’ children’s experiences. The studies used a range of methodologies from in-depth interviews and focus groups to larger scale surveys using questionnaires.
Each fostered child and each carer’s child is an individual and their characteristics will
influence how fostering is experienced and the relationship between them. However, some clear messages emerged from this review of the international research on the impact of fostering on carers’ children.
• Being involved in the decision to foster enhances subsequent adaptation
• Being informed about fostering and about each particular child reduces conflicts
• Foster carers need to identify ‘protected’ time for their children
• Limiting information and sensitive information
• Being allowed to discuss problems
• Preparing carers’ children for ending of placements
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