Could you foster siblings?
26 September 2023
26 September 2023
Did you know more than half of siblings are separated when taken into care?
In 2020, a BBC File on 4 Freedom of Information request to the Department of Education revealed that more than half of fostered siblings are split up. With a BBC report in 2018 estimating that as many as 5,000 children in care are separated from their siblings each year, the scale of this problem is large.
A lack of foster carers can lead to siblings in need of foster care becoming separated. If you want to become a foster carer, have you considered the possibility of fostering sibling groups?
Why do we want to keep siblings together?
There are certain circumstances where keeping siblings together isn’t the best option for the children. This can be the family dynamic, the number of siblings, the children may be a risk to each other, or if they have different needs. However, in most cases, fostering siblings together has many benefits.
Children will settle into their foster home better. When siblings are fostered together, they can settle into their new home more quickly and with less challenges. The familiarity of a sibling in an unknown environment can make the adjustment process feel a little easier for everyone.
Children will feel more secure and supported. Moving into a new home with a foster family can be a scary and anxious time for children and young people. However, with a sibling by their side, children will always have someone who knows all about them and can give them the support they need. Often, when children are separated from their siblings, they can become worried about their brother or sister’s wellbeing. When they are living in separate foster families, siblings are not only getting used to a new parent dynamic but also no longer have their brother or sister around for comfort.
Better sense of togetherness and belonging. Foster families work hard to make sure children feel loved, supported, and nurtured in their new home. However, often children can feel a little lost and miss the sense of belonging that comes with spending time and growing up with their siblings. When siblings are fostered together, they do not feel completely separated from their
family unit and life as they knew it.
What space do you need to foster siblings?
It is a mandate of the fostering services that every child over the age of three has his or her own bedroom. However exceptions can be made if the room is large enough, it is possible for siblings to share a bedroom. In some cases, this can provide comfort and security to the foster siblings who have been taken from their usual home and now find themselves in an unknown situation. If foster carers have a spare double bedroom, bunk beds or two single beds can be set up for siblings to share. Local authorities insist that each child has his or her own space but when it comes to siblings, they accept that siblings up to the age of 10, may share a bedroom. If foster carers have two spare rooms available, this is much better for fostering older children.
There is a national shortage of foster parents who have the space and capacity to foster sibling groups. However, keeping siblings together in foster care can be a truly rewarding experience. At Nexus Fostering we have an extensive team of professionals and training to support and work alongside you to enable siblings to grow confidently together.
Read Dianne's journey and experiences with fostering siblings here.
26 September 2023