If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, you might be wondering if foster children can share bedrooms. While foster children usually need their own room, there is one potential exception: same-sex foster siblings.
Read on to learn more about why foster children need their own space, and when and how foster siblings can share a room.
Why foster children need their own room
Having a space of their own is important for all foster children. They need a place to feel safe and secure, and where they can retreat when a new situation or environment becomes overwhelming.
Children often come into the foster care system having experienced trauma, such as abuse or neglect, and will be further stressed by having to deal with a new environment and being removed from their family. The same as any of us in stressful times, they need space of their own to process their feelings.
Having their own room gives a foster child a place to be alone – and, unlike locations outside the home, you can be close at hand to offer support and reassurance. Having separate rooms will also help mitigate sibling rivalry and conflict with other children in the home.
When foster siblings can share
It depends on the local authority, but it comes down to what will be the least disruptive for the children. If two young siblings have always shared a room, it may well be better for them to continue doing so in a new house.
Such was the case for the sibling group who came to foster carers Deborah and Brian: two twin sisters aged 7 and a third sister aged 3. “Before they came to live with us, they were used to all three of them sharing a bedroom,” says Deborah.
Now the twins share a room with bunk beds, while the youngest has her own space. “The older girls love the fact that their little sister isn’t in their room with them and she loves it that she has her own room, so everyone is happy.”
In order to share a room, siblings must be the same sex, and most local authorities will only allow sharing up to a certain age (usually around 9 to 11).
Housing requirements for foster children
According to the UK Minimum Standards for Fostering, a foster home must be able to comfortably accommodate all who live there – this means that communal spaces need to be big enough for the whole family to live comfortably. Each child over the age of three (including birth children) should have their own bedroom, or if that’s not possible, each child sharing a room must have their own area within the bedroom.
At Compass Fostering, we only allow room sharing for foster siblings in special circumstances – meaning that all our carers need to have a spare room before they can start fostering.
Having foster children in the home
“Being three girls in the house, they have a lot of toys and clothes and everything,” says Deborah about her foster children. “They’re good girls and they tidy up, so it’s not as bad as it could be.”
“And wow, they have changed our lives! They’ve filled our house and lives with fun, laughter, cuddles and drama, and given us insight into the world through their eyes, which is full of resilience, hope, joy and finding fun in everything they do.”
Have more questions about foster care? Read our most commonly asked fostering questions and answers or visit our fostering infocentre to get all the answers you need to start your journey!