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The impact of fostering on foster carers’ children

An international literature review

When a family experiences the transformation to a family who fosters, there will be many changes in family relations and general family life. It is the whole family who fosters, and the involvement of carers’ children in the caring task should be acknowledged (Martin, 1993). Evidence suggests that many foster carers are concerned about the effects fostering might have on their children (Poland and Groze, 1993). There is some evidence of an increased risk for placement breakdown if foster carers have children of their own living at home (e.g. Berridge and Cleaver, 1987; Cautley, 1980; Kalland and Sinkkonen, 2001; Quinton et al., 1998), though this evidence is contradictory (e.g. Farmer et al., 2004; Sinclair, Wilson and Gibbs, 2005). Nevertheless, the impact of fostering on the lives of the sons and daughters of foster carers has largely been overlooked both in research and practice, and is an issue of international concern (Höjer, 2007; Part, 1993; Poland and Groze, 1993; Twigg and Swan, 2007; Watson and Jones, 2002).

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.