The impact of fostering on natural children and their involvement in the fostering process: invisible, vulnerable or valued?
Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
Fostering is an activity that involves the family as a whole and has an impact on all members of the family unit. Adults aren’t the only people that foster: children are also involved in fostering. In Ireland, foster children placed with foster carers’ is the most popular form of alternative care for foster children. While there is a body of research carried out on foster care, most of the research focuses on foster carers’ and foster children. There is little research that focuses on the effects of fostering on natural children. Therefore, this research aims to fill a gap in the literature by exploring natural children’s experiences of living with foster siblings. This study reports on the findings of a qualitative study that was conducted using semi-structured interviews with eight natural children of foster carers’. Due to ethical considerations this research focuses on natural children who are over 18 years of age. This study found that fostering has both positive and negative effects on natural children. It also found that for the most part natural children are voiceless and powerless throughout the foster placement. The results of this small scale research have implications for social work practice. The author argues the importance of recognising the role natural children play in the foster placement and the importance of their active involvement in all aspects of the fostering process. It is in the author’s view that training and support groups need to be established to support natural children in their role. This study also argues that natural children need to be more visible in policy and legislation and they need to be heard in all aspects of the fostering journey from assessments through to reviews.
Fostering , Biological children , Natural children , Support , Positive , Negative effects , Impacts of fostering , Involvement in the process
Duffy, C. (2012) The impact of fostering on natural children and their involvement in the fostering process: invisible, vulnerable or valued? Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
© 2012, Claire Duffy.