"Growing up in a fostering household has given me lifelong skills"
Lauren was four when her parents started to foster. Now in her 20s, with a family of her own and a lecturer at a college, she puts her confidence down to being a birth child in a fostering household
Lauren is 26 and lives with her partner and baby aged nine months. When she was four, her parents started to foster.
She explained: “When me and my sister were younger, we would help out by welcoming new children into the house and make them feel at home. As we got older, we started to help with Key to the Door, which is a scheme to help young people towards independent living.”
Now, despite having her own family, Lauren plays a big role with the children and young people that her mum fosters. Two years ago, she started to support the children in her mum's care, in her own home.
Lauren said: “I think it’s quite daunting for children to go to a stranger’s house. So, we like the fact that when they are having breaks, the children can come to our house. It’s like coming to a family house as they already know us.”
“The boys that are currently with mum like to sit in their bedroom and play video games, but that’s just being a teenage boy. When they interact with us it’s really nice. I don’t think they are any different as if they were our brothers.
“I would say fostering has had more of a positive impact on me rather than a negative one. There were things that I found hard as a child, like sharing our parents and feeling that sometimes our foster siblings could do things we weren’t allowed.
"But growing up you see why you have to differentiate between children’s behaviours and allow certain things. My mum was always fair and always explained to us why.”
I get children in my mum's care come to me for support and advice. They rely on me like a siblingLauren
“Now as an adult I get children in my mum’s care come to me for support and advice, they rely on me like a sibling. I also had a care leaver message me the other day asking if we could meet up for a cup of coffee because we hadn’t seen each other in years.
"I like to keep in touch with the young people that leave my mums care to see how they are progressing. I’ve got at least ten of them on my Facebook.
“My advice to anyone considering fostering with birth children at home would be to consider how you feel it will impact your children. Let them be part of the decision to help you decide on whether you foster. As a birth child from a fostering household, I can say fostering does give you the skills you benefit from in later life.
I have gained a lot of confidence from fostering and how to talk to different people. It's made me braveLauren
“Over the years fostering has had its challenges and it still does but I appreciate it so much more now that I’m older. My mum always wanted to foster and we are supportive of her. She loves doing it and is a great foster carer.
“I’ve gained a lot of confidence from fostering and how to talk to different people. It’s also made me brave. As an adult, I am now confident with dealing and understanding different behaviours in the classroom when I’m at work.”
“If I didn’t have the skills I have gained from growing up in a fostering household, I would have been petrified going into my teaching job. But now I’m like: what challenge is next?”
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