Children whose parents foster other children: the experiences of growing up with a foster sibling

Nel, Luzaan
Scherman, Rhoda
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

Within today’s society, many different forms of “alternative parenting” exist, including single parent homes, step-parent homes, grandparent headed households, adoption, and foster-care, all of which are family systems that differ to the traditional nuclear family form. In several of these different family forms there is the likelihood that children who are not genetically related are being raised together as siblings. The current study sought to investigate the experiences of the resident child growing up with a foster sibling. The findings from this study will add to the very limited literature on growing up with a foster sibling in New Zealand and may influence future policy. Five semi-structured interviews were conducted. The study explored whether the lived experiences of adolescent resident children is congruent with the research literature within the field of foster care; and sought to expand the knowledge of this population. There were nine topical areas investigated: parents’ motivations to foster from the resident children’s perspectives, preparation for fostering, overall experiences of having a foster sibling, the positives of fostering, the challenges of fostering, what resident children felt they gained from fostering, advice to parents and other resident children, resident children fostering when they are adults and the impact of permanence of the foster sibling relationship. A descriptive qualitative analysis was used to investigate the experiences of resident children, and concluded that in contrast to the majority of the literature, resident children overall had positive experiences of growing up with a foster sibling. Implications for families, limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Foster , Foster sibling
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