Often, when a child is placed into care, it’s not uncommon that this child or young person also has a sibling in need of care. With around 80% of the UK population having at least one sibling, it’s fair to assume that a foster child will have siblings, too.
There is a high demand for foster carers who can take care of sibling groups – this is because in more than 200 UK local authorities, more than half of sibling groups in care are split up. The UK law states that siblings should be placed together in foster care where possible – and ‘if reasonably practicable and consistent with their welfare’ (The Children Act, 1989). However, unfortunately, sometimes this isn’t possible or feasible.
Separating siblings in foster care can often be caused by the following factors:
There are many positive benefits of keeping sibling groups together in the same household. One of these is that fostering siblings has been associated with more positive adjustments into their new families. For example, studies have shown that older children taken into care and separated from their younger siblings can often have a difficult time feeling accepted, and in turn, accepting their new family. Yet, when they have a sibling by their side to share the journey with, this can generally make the transition a lot easier.
Being fostered with a sibling is also a huge support for children who have been removed from a violent or abusive home. This is because they can then band together with their siblings in a new, unfamiliar environment.
Yes, you can foster sibling groups if you already have a child in care or an existing child born into your family. However, this is often dependent on the space you have in your home. Siblings who are under the age of 10 can share a bedroom – whereas, if they are older or specified to need their own bedrooms, the children will need to have separate bedrooms.
Looking to start your journey as a carer fostering siblings? Get in touch with a member of our expert team here at FosterCare UK. We can provide help and advice on keeping siblings together in foster care, and provide specialist foster care training in order to do so.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.