Views from birth children: exploring the backstage world of sibling strangers
This article reports on an in-depth qualitative case study of 10 foster care families across England and Wales, and focuses on the birth children and their experiences of supporting the young people placed with them. We explore with these children and young people some of the challenges they perceive, the benefits they reap, as well as the skills and strengths that they bring to fostering. Their accounts of caring indicate that birth children engage in careful strategies of ‘sibling-like’ mediation with the fostered ‘strangers’ who first enter their homes and which, over time, brings an indispensable ‘glue’ to relationships that may all too often go unrecognised. The importance of learning from their contribution to placement stability and supporting them in their role concludes our exposition of this critical but sometimes neglected realm of fostering relationships and family life.
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