We know that some people would dearly love to foster but don’t have a spare bedroom.
People often think that they would be able to care for a child if only they could share a room with their own birth children.
We fully understand these frustrations, so we want to share with you why we are committed to providing foster children with a bedroom of their own.
We hope this page will help you understand why separate bedrooms are so important for both a foster child and your own children.
Before we start – we’d like to ask you one question.
Would you feel comfortable sharing your bedroom with a complete stranger?
For most of us, the answer would be no. The lack of privacy, in what is our personal space, would make us uncomfortable and we may also feel very vulnerable.
You may think it’s different for children, after all, children often regard sleepovers as fun and exciting, but as adults, we need to think far more widely on their behalf.
All the reasons we would feel uncomfortable as adults are also true for children, but as children, they can’t possibly comprehend all the possible outcomes and therefore it falls to us as adults to do this for them. As we go through the points below, it’s helpful to think about this from your own perspective and ask yourself ‘how would I feel?’
Why sharing a bedroom with a foster child could be detrimental to your own children
Foster children have often suffered harm before coming into care. Some harm is known and therefore we can anticipate certain behaviours children may exhibit, but often the nature of the harm or the extent of the harm doesn’t become apparent until after children have come into placement, sometimes even years later and as such it’s impossible to predict all the behaviours a child may exhibit.
It's not unusual for children from a background of neglect to hoard or steal – this is something they might have been forced to do in extreme examples, just to eat. These behaviours don’t disappear overnight for a child especially if it’s been part of their survival instinct, but it can be extremely distressing for your own child if their prized possessions go missing.
You may foster a young person that displays none of these behaviours at all, but until a child is living in your home – the full extent of a child’s background and what they have suffered always has to be regarded as largely unknown, because only the foster child knows the full extent of their background. For this reason, we cannot predict which children could happily share a room.
Remember you are never alone; with our Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ support, not to mention our ‘Excellent’ rating in Scotland too. We know that these behaviours are significantly easier to manage when you know your own children are safe, secure and happy.
Why is having a room of their own so important for a foster child?
As we’ve already discussed, children often come into care because they have lived in awful situations where neglect and/or harm were part and parcel of their daily lives. Children are incredibly resilient and may not show any outward signs of the trauma they have experienced whilst with others.
When children are removed from that experience, they are now safe, but now they also have to deal with the impact of losing their family too, and regardless of what they have experienced, children love unconditionally and suffer a huge sense of loss when removed from their families.
This can all be extremely overwhelming for many children – and why a space to call their own is so essential.
Think about a time in your own life when you’ve been extremely sad or angry – as adults we may go out for a walk or go somewhere where we can be alone with our thoughts. For children, we need to provide them with a safe place where they can go to be alone when they need to get away from it all. This just wouldn’t be possible for them if they were sharing a bedroom with your own children.
The value of this time cannot be underestimated as, without it, their feelings could become extremely overwhelming if they felt they didn’t have somewhere to go and just have a cry in secret, or somewhere they can let off steam if they are feeling angry.
We hope we have given you some appreciation of why a spare room is so important to both yourself, a foster child and your own children.
If you do have a spare bedroom and feel that you could provide a safe, caring and supportive home for a foster child, do get in touch.
How do I apply to be a foster parent?
Applying to be a foster carer begins with a telephone call to our friendly fostering team on 0800 077 8159. We’ll chat to you about the process and what’s involved, and talk you through what happens next. Visit our how to become a foster parent page to find out about more about applying to foster with us.
What does the application process involve?
There are a number of steps involved in becoming a foster carer. It all starts when you call our fostering line on 0800 077 8159. We’ll chat to you about what’s involved and arrange for one of our fostering advisors to visit you at home to go through the process in more detail. If you decide you’d like to apply to foster with us, we’ll give you an application form. Find out more about what’s involved.
What training will I receive to be able to foster?
All of our applicants complete our 'Skills to foster' training, a 3 day training course during assessment. You will also undertake some training at home called 'Next Steps to fostering'. Once approved you'll receive ongoing training throughout your time with us, some of which is mandatory and other courses which are optional but designed to develop your skills. Your supervising social worker will work with you to identify the best training for you each year.
Do I need any special qualifications to foster?
No. We provide ongoing training during and after approval to help you develop your fostering skills.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent and would like to learn more, then we’d love to hear from you.
Simply fill in the form below and one of our friendly team will be in touch.