Growing Up With A Family That Fosters – Interview With Birth Child, Scarlett

Sons and Daughters Month is in full swing! 

As part of our celebration of all that our Birth Children do, we decided to speak to Scarlett, a Supervising Social Worker who grew up within a family that fostered.

Scarlett talks about how she feels growing up in this environment positively shaped the person she is today and how she feels passionately about Sons and Daughters month.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Scarlett, I am a Supervising Social Worker here at Futures for Children. I became a Social Worker primarily influenced by my parents choosing to foster when I was younger. They fostered from when I was about 4 to about 14 years old.

What was your experience being a birth child in a fostering family?

For me fostering was just something that was part of life, part of my family, we always did it. I don’t really remember a time before we fostered. We had a lot of children over the years, some for a short time, some for years and years. I remember one of our first placements, when I was really young. We had a little boy and his sister, who was about the same age as me. We only had them for a couple of days, but I remember thinking this was really exciting because I had a new best friend to play with. I remember being was really keen to play with this girl because my birth sister was tomboy, and she didn’t like playing with dolls like I did. I had great fun playing with this girl for a couple of days and then she moved on and I was like “oh…” but then the next one came! That was great, we had another little boy and his baby sister, so there was a little baby for me to play with! Those two then went back to their family and we got to support their Aunty with learning how to look after them and getting to know them. We got to see them go off with their family which was a really nice, it was happy ending for them. But they were just children in our home that were part of our family, they weren’t any different from me or my siblings, it just was family life for me.

Did your friends know your family fostered?

I don’t really remember it being spoken about a lot, but I do remember that my friends knew that we fostered, or that they knew that I had brothers and sisters and then I had foster brothers and sisters. I remember one of them turned up at sports day to cheer me on in a Laa-Laa costume and being slightly embarrassed, but also really happy that he was there. My friends were all like “who’s that, who’s that” and I told them “oh that’s my foster brother, he’s here to cheer us on” and we just all got on with it.

Did your family fostering have an impact on you?

Being part of a family that fosters as a child definitely does have an impact, but I would say it’s a really positive one. For me, its lead me to where I am today, to the career I have chosen to, and it’s made me really passionate about working with children and supporting them to do their best. I have three brothers and a sister, and I think they were all impacted by it as well. Whilst none of them have chosen quite the same career path as me, I think we are all very understanding of lots of different people from lots of different walks of life and that, I think, is something that we all carry with us from our experience of fostering.

How do we support our birth children?

We have a very thorough matching process where we take into account everyone in the household. That includes the foster carers, their skills, their strengths and what sort of child they think they might be able to manage. But we also look at the birth children and what their needs are, who might be placed alongside them positively? Whether that be someone who is the same sort of age as them and can engage in the same sorts of activities or whether it is a child of a totally different age that they don’t feel like they are competing with in any way. It is all down to the individual child and looking at matches as individual – not just placing a child because they have a vacancy. We put children into a placement where they and everybody involved is going to thrive and continue to do so.

Why is Sons and Daughters Month important?

I am really passionate about Sons and Daughter’s Month because I think it is sometimes easy to overlook sons and daughters, but they play a vital role in fostering families. I know what I did as a daughter of foster carers and how much I was involved with the children we looked after. I didn’t mind, I was good at it, I felt proud and privileged and pleased to be called upon, I liked that, and I think sons and daughters deserve recognition for the things that they do. They are part of the fostering family too and foster carers couldn’t do it without the support of their sons and daughters. Also, sons and daughters are sharing their parents with a foster child and therefore it does impact on them and I think they need to know that we recognise that and that we appreciate everything they do.

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