Siblings in care must stay together; Can you foster?

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Siblings in care must stay together, but a shortage of foster carers willing to foster siblings often means this doesn’t happen. The chances of siblings staying together within their community once split up grow remote for them, especially older siblings. Local Authorities need to place siblings in care with foster carers who meet the need of all the children. They aim to keep children local, in the community they know and love.

There is a higher chance that siblings in care who stay together and are not separated; stay together as a family forever. However, for siblings who are not as lucky, once separated, the likelihood of them returning together is slim, and for children who may have already dealt with trauma and loss, this loss hurts the most.

Siblings in care find comfort because they are together.

For many children in care, the care system is traumatic. Thankfully, having your brothers and sisters with you is a comfort; you are never alone, and that comfort is essential for vulnerable children. However, older siblings suffer the most; they are the children who often blame themselves.

These children are often the unseen carers for siblings; they are the ones who make daily life happen. Older siblings are often seen taking the younger ones to school, feeding them and ironing their clothes for school to keep the appearance of a happy home going.

All siblings must stay together, especially older children and teenagers https://ververecruitment.org/fostering/.

These children are the ones who often struggle every day, ensuring younger siblings have what they need to fool social workers and teachers that everything in the home is okay. Only, sometimes it wasn’t. Thankfully, children who have faced neglect and abuse have support from Foster carers, but that doesn’t stop the guilt from older children. They will ask themselves, what did I do wrong? Was it me? I should have done more.

Older siblings are often the silent parents to younger ones…

Sadly, they often find the comfort of their role; parenting siblings are gone. More importantly, the opportunity of childhood, being a child and enjoying life as a child has often passed them by.

These older siblings care for younger brothers and sisters in the only role they know; it is their purpose, and once gone, they become lost in a system they don’t know and have no control over. They were the decision-makers at one point, albeit a role they shouldn’t have had, but it was their role. Now gone, they are lost, and, ultimately, they silently shoulder the blame.

Sibling foster carers keep siblings together, including older children.

Furthermore, the saddest part is many foster carers will often take younger siblings but not older children. Many will say they know the hype about older children in care; they have complex needs and behavioural problems. Suffice it to say, given what they have been through, separation anxiety, guilt and too much too soon in their young lives will manifest in behavioural problems. And for many foster carers, that’s not what they want.

Therefore, older siblings often go into residential care, often away from their local community and feeling abandoned. Also, the chance of finding a foster home is remote; sadly, they can become institutionalised. I apologise if this sounds grim.

The reality is harsh; we need to keep all siblings in care together. The truth is many older children start to forget the comfort of being a part of a sibling group; they lose their identity and become another shocking statistic of a system that failed them.

Fostering siblings is challenging but rewarding.

Most of us who care for children and are part of sibling groups know the sibling bond is unique for most families. Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t related to mine, and I’ve often muttered the old line, ‘you can pick your friends but not your family.’

But we share a family, a past, and a sense of identity, and this bond unites us. It is our strength, and when things go wrong, this strength helps us cope together as a family. However, once lost, we either grow stronger alone or lose ourselves; the deciding factor is the support we have…

Fostering siblings is a commitment to every child and yourself.

Sibling foster care is not about having one or more spare bedrooms; it is about having space in your heart and home for every child. Your commitment is the key to each child achieving the best in life. One foster carer I know told me that she committed herself and the boys when she chose to foster two long-term boys; and said, ‘Right then, I have decided you will have at least 15 Christmas with me!’

She gave them and herself a sense of belonging as a family within a safe and loving home together. Ultimately, she knew the path to the future might be challenging, but she didn’t worry. She had committed herself and would not let the boys down, especially the older child, because she knew what his future might be without her. Her awareness is her strength.

Find out more about keeping siblings together

Sibling foster carers commit each child.

More importantly, she decided because she knew how important it was for both boys to stay together. They are brothers; she knew they had a past if they had each other. They have a unique bond and a self-identity as a family together.

Also, both boys have different needs. They love and hate each other in equal ways, as siblings do; however, her love for them is the glue that binds them together. And this is what makes a foster carer an excellent foster carer. She knows the best path for the boys; instinctively, it is the path they walk down together, regardless of whether it isn’t the best path for her. She knows that life isn’t about her; it’s about doing right by children who need her, and that’s why she chose to become a foster carer.

Also, she knows that fostering siblings is a challenge. And, with support from her agency, family and friends, it is the right one for her. More importantly, she made her commitment to foster both boys, and it’s one she fully intends to keep.

Siblings in care need to stay together; can you help?

Many Local Authorities have to make tough decisions; there are not enough sibling foster carers to meet the needs of sibling groups. Sibling Foster carers need support; 24/7 when needed most, so Verve Recruitment CIC only recruits foster carers for the Not for Profit sector; supporting foster carers is where they excel.

Every penny profit they make is re-invested back into supporting you. They don’t re-invest a part of the Profit; they invest it all. Not for Profit know that they help siblings heal from trauma; they need foster carers with access to support networks, available 24/7 from a Charity that cares, and that’s the difference they need.

Sibling foster carers have the hearts of a lion and the patience of Job!

Are you the difference siblings need? Can you foster?

Siblings foster care is challenging, but the rewards are immense. However, it takes commitment and love in your heart and home for vulnerable children; and siblings in care; you are the difference they need.

Fostering siblings requires the heart of a lion and the patience of Job. Still, the rewards outweigh the challenges as siblings flourish together, retaining their self-identity and staying together in successful lives. How many opportunities do we have to make that happen in our lives?

If you want to learn more about fostering siblings with a Not-for-Profit Charity, please get in touch on the form below. It’s free; it’s confidential; it takes half an hour of your time to make the first step to making a difference in siblings’ lives…Together, we can make a difference in siblings’ lives in care.


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