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3-10 year olds in foster care?

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DH and I have three ADs, been with us eight years, all now in secondary school. Maybe we are just feeling a bit nostalgic for when they were younger, but we are starting to talk about the possibility (in another few years) of fostering. My question is about the ages of children looking for foster carers. We have zero experience of babies, nor any particular desire to learn at this point in life, and I'm not sure we are really up for troubled teens. I guess what we'd ideally want to do is foster children of a similar age to our girls when they came to us - so about 3-6 - or perhaps slightly older primary age children. But do that sort of age children often go into FC, or is it nearly all babies and teens? Appreciate the picture may have changed again by the time we're in a position to consider this more seriously, but would be interested in views/ experiences.


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You get children of all ages coming into foster care and you can specify the age range you prefer.

However you have to think what happens if you get a child that you get attached to and they reach teenagerdom!

You could choose to do short term fostering of course but think carefully about the effect on your other kids if they see children moving on as that could be tricky for adopted children.

What about starting by offering respite to test the water as it were when you are ready to proceed.


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My lo went into foster care aged 3 and ended up staying there 3 years!


Since leaving there her FC has taken on children aged between 4 and 12. You also have to remember that not all children come direct from birth families. Some will come from other foster carers who for various reasons are no longer able to look after them. These children might also fall into your age range.


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my sons younger brother has just gone into FC for the first time. He is 9


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I have primary aged children at the moment and the plan for them is adoption so as wizzywoo said you'd need to think carefully about the kinds of outcomes your own children could manage. for my adopted son fostering has helped him to make sense of his own story and its all mostly positive, but there have been children who pushed his buttons enormously and that was difficult to negotiatiate for us all.

respite is often a good way to test the waters, though is very different to short term and long term care. if considering long term only bear in mind that the process for matching is similar to adoption (or should be) but without the security of knowing they are yours. with short term care you have very little say in anything much and the coming and going can be very difficult even for the adults. my current two are causing me huge stress becoz its pushing my buttons on loss in a way that the babies don't (I usually have babies).

on the bright side though not wanting babies is likely to be a positive becoz so few come in and so many people who want to do it!


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As others have said, children come into foster care at all ages. One thing which appears to be more common in families known to Children's Services than in the general UK population is very large families i.e. 6 - 10 children. When we in Children's Services get to the point that we think such sibling groups need to be in FC, we can rarely if ever place them all together (in 6 years as a children's SW the biggest sibling groups I've known placed together in FC have been 4 children), and the split of placements is often - one placement for the babies and pre-schoolers, one or two placements for primary-school-aged siblings together and one or two placements for the troubled teens. Additionally, sibling groups of 4 children coming into FC sometimes stay together but (mostly due to lack of placements) may have to be split into two groups of 2 children - again often meaning there is a pair of pre-school children and a pair of primary-school aged children each to be placed in FC together.


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And siblings may need split for good reasons, and moves may be frequent. One group of four that I know of, had the eldest placed separately ( to give her a break from the caring role she took in the birth family) two middle ones were placed together but one was retraumatising the other, so they got split and one thrived, the other was placed with the baby and a fc (who had another child same age whom she was adopting ) That child couldn't cope there, and was moved a second time, to a single placement that was much more successful. So three placements in 18 months for that child. It must have been a lot of change for the foster carers as well.


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Thanks all, we are at very early stages of thinking about all of this, but plenty of food for thought. The point about how we (and our adopted children) were able to cope with foster children moving on is a good one. I still remember when our girls had been with us a year, which was also the length of time they were in their last foster placement, saying to my husband 'can you imagine them leaving?'. Looks like we'd either have to get our heads round that or the idea of having more teenagers at some point in the future.

Thanks again.


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