Fostering sibling groups is one of the best ways of improving the outlook of children and young people in care. By keeping sibling groups together, they can help and support each other throughout the fostering process. Learn more about fostering siblings from our detailed guide.
Why foster sibling groups?
The Children Act 1989 requires that local authorities must keep sibling groups together “if reasonably practicable and consistent with their welfare.” With this in mind, fostering siblings is highly encouraged among local authorities and independent fostering agencies – as there are various benefits of keeping siblings together in foster care.
Benefits of fostering sibling groups
At Excel Fostering, we’re always looking to ensure that brothers and sisters are placed together if possible. By maintaining these relationships, it has been shown that foster children have an increased sense of emotional support, community and belonging throughout the fostering process; something which ultimately results in a more positive care experience. Three of the main benefits of fostering sibling groups include:
- Attachment – siblings are usually the longest lasting relationship, so the children in care will have a consistent attachment which will allow them to define themselves and develop.
- Support – if the children have been removed from an abusive or violent home, they can find support in each other and a sense of security.
- Accepting their new family – remaining together with siblings entering a new family environment increases the likelihood they’ll accept their new family faster.
Removing a child from their siblings can present a whole host of concerns and is likely to cause them a great deal of grief and anxiety. When will they see each other again? How are they handling the situation? Are they being treated well by their new foster families? Are they happy? The concerns caused by the separating of a sibling group can have a direct impact on the behaviour of a looked after child or young person, and may make their individual placement less stable and harder to settle into. In the long term, being placed separately may even cause the family bond to break down, making it harder for siblings to rebuild their relationship in the future.
Sadly, however, sibling group foster placements can be hard to accomplish for a variety of reasons. The biggest barrier being the availability of foster parents with the space to accommodate two, three or sometimes more, children or young people in their homes. Currently, research shows that siblings in care are separated as often as 1/3 of the time.
Exceptions of separating siblings in foster care
There are some instances, however, where sibling groups may be separated in foster care which may be beneficial to the young children in care. This could be in the circumstances of protecting the welfare of the children or young people in care. Siblings aren’t always cohesive – and relationship difficulties between siblings can be caused by jealousy or family dynamics. In these rare instances, sibling groups will purposefully be separated so that each member of the group can develop and grow positively in their new homes.
Fostering siblings with Excel Fostering
The primary goal for fostering more sibling groups is recruiting more foster carers who have the capability to foster siblings. It can be demanding – but by keeping siblings together in foster care, you can be involved in creating a happy, secure home for young people who need help. Are you interested in helping keep siblings together in foster care? If so, get in touch with Excel Fostering today or request a call back by using our online enquiry form.