17th May, 2021
Being able to offer siblings the chance to stay together when being placed with a foster family is something that motivates many of our foster carers.
Across the UK, 86% of fostering services have a need for carers for sibling groups. So, there is a desperate need for foster families who have the space and the ability to take in a small family of siblings.
In spite of the demand for foster carers who can look after sibling groups, it is not what usually happens. In 2018, the BBC reported at least 5,000 children in care were split from their siblings.
Having a family member by your side when huge changes are taking place for these children can make a big difference in how they settle and move on towards a more positive future.
And the long-term benefits in terms of a family network that can help and support into adulthood cannot be underestimated either.
Sibling fostering will have its challenges, fairly commonly an older sibling may have become accustomed to taking on a parenting type role in the relationship and foster carers will help and support the children to regain their childhood in some respects, so that rather than having to play out an adult role and taking on adult responsibilities they can enjoy being looked after themselves.
Within my role as Children’s Champion, I find it very enjoyable spending time with sibling groups, I think most of us with siblings will be able to relate to the challenges of brothers and sisters however, also having a shared understanding of the world, sense of humour and history that bond us.
Anna Lane-Clarke, Childrens Champion