When you make the decision to become a foster carer, it’s likely you picture yourself taking in one vulnerable child at a time, however we have an urgent need for more Foster Carers for sibling groups. Currently, many siblings must be split up, which can add to the initial trauma of entering into the foster system and exacerbate what is already a very difficult time. When kept together, siblings can often provide comfort and reassurance for one another.
Foster Carers Sarah and Matt have been supporting vulnerable children in Brighton & Hove for 16 years alongside their own son and daughter. They have fostered over 20 children!
What makes this family even more extraordinary is that Sarah and Matt foster a brother and sister. The siblings have another sister, and she is fostered by Matt’s mother who lives in the house next door.
Trying to keep siblings together (when it’s right for the children) is a priority when placing children with foster families, but it can be difficult with many carers not having the space and time to look after 2 or more children in a sibling group, especially if it’s in addition to their own families.
Sara says “keeping siblings together is so important as they provide each other immeasurable support and security during unsettling and often traumatic times”.
When children are kept together in a sibling group, it provides a sense of familiarity, reassurance and comfort during a time of immense confusion, so its always a top priority to keep families together when it’s right for the children. In Matt and Sarah’s case, it was fortunate that the third sibling was able to live with Matt and Sarah’s mother; what a wonderful outcome for everyone!
Sarah has loved fostering siblings and watching them grow alongside her own family. She has seen how paramount their support of each other has been, and the effect that keeping positive memories alive for each other can have.
Sarah’s advice for those who have the capacity to open up their family home to a sibling group who desperately want to stay together is that foster children should become part of your family; they should always feel included and part of the childhood they deserve.
She says “I am so proud of the children we’ve looked after and the beautiful people they’ve blossomed into”.
Due to Coronavirus, our team our working remotly, but we are continuing to welcome fostering enquiries and applications because there remains a priority need for children to have safe and loving foster families. We are conducting information sessions, initial enquiries and home visits via WhatsApp and Skype, and we are working closly with new applicants to progress their applications.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details of our next virtual information session.
Find out more about fostering by downloading our information booklet