Voices of children in foster care
In May 2018, the Childrens Commissioner for England produced a report gathering the views and experiences of children in foster care. It provides a summary of the key themes arising from discussions with the children who took part.
What do children want from their foster parents?
An overwhelming majority of children said that they wanted to feel safe, loved, and part of the family. Many recognised the importance of identity and belonging in shaping their own happiness and well-being.
“To feel part of a family. I like it in the summer when we play games outside as a family”.
“My home to be warm, safe and ‘cool’. It’s important to me that I have a sense of identity and feel part of the family”
“Keep loving me”
“I want to be looked after and have a loving family”
What’s the best thing about being in care?
Feeling like part of the family.
The majority of children said the best thing about care was their foster family, and feeling like ‘part of the family’. Some children said that they viewed their foster carers as ‘their mum and dad’, and the foster carers’ children as their brothers and sisters. Many enjoyed doing activities with their foster family, such as going on holiday and family ‘days out’.
“[The best thing about being in care is] the family I am now placed with; I see my foster carers as my mum and dad”.
“Pictures of my birth parents are centrally displayed in my bedroom for me but I am indifferent; I only think of my foster carers as Mum and Dad”.
“I like going on holiday. My foster carers have been able to take me abroad so I felt like part of the family”
“[The best thing about being in foster care is] that we do things as a family. Could be going to the park, a restaurant, parties and stuff or holiday”.
A safe home
For a large number of the children, the best thing about being in care was having a safe, permanent home. Many said that they liked where they lived, and felt that their carers’ house was their true ‘home’. Children were happy that they were given their own room and possessions, and this made them feel safe and in control of their surroundings.
“I like where I live. I feel safe at home”.
“I am in a nice home with people that I like and they look after me”
“I feel comfortable living here, I have my things and my own room the way I want it”.
“I like the food, my bedroom, I have a TV, Xbox. I feel wanted”
Some children felt that they had been given better opportunities after being place in foster care. Many were grateful for the extra support they received with their schooling, whilst others said being placed in foster care had given them more ‘preparation for life’.
“[I get] extra support with education”.
“[F]oster care is good because the foster carers help you get through life and help you do life skills for the future”.
“My school has supported me by helping me with my school work”
Overall, children felt that foster care had given them the chance of a ‘better life’:
“The best thing is that I have a chance to have a better life. Things would’ve not gone so well if I had continued to live where I did”.
“You feel looked after more cause when you’re in foster care- it’s because your [birth] family can’t look after you”
To read the full report, visit; https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/VOICE-OF-CHILDREN-AND-YOUNG-PEOPLE-IN-FOSTER-CARE.pdf