Placing children in care only happens when it’s absolutely necessary for the well-being of the child. It means that children have to leave their parents and homes and often also their siblings. Splitting up sibling groups is one part of the fostering process that doesn’t have to happen, though. Siblings in Rotherham could be kept together if we had enough foster carers with the space to house them.
"More than 12,000 children in care are not living with at least one of their siblings"
- BBC Report
Fostering Rotherham would love to be able to keep more sibling groups together, because we know what a massive difference it makes for a child to have their brothers and sisters alongside them to hold their hand. To do that, we need your help.
A special relationship
Our relationships with siblings can be the longest of our lives. Often siblings become good friends, providing a deep sense of comfort that comes from knowing someone so well. Siblings are there when we need help at school or advice on relationships. They’re there for weddings, christenings - all our major life events. They’re also a source of the unconditional love that children need to thrive. Foster children deserve this experience too, but often they lose touch with siblings because there is a desperate shortage of foster homes able to provide space for them. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The many benefits of fostering siblings
Keeping siblings together can mean a sense of belonging, security, support and stability for children. When everything else changes, they know that they still have some of their family with them, who understand exactly what they’ve been through. For foster children this is even more important. The bond they have with one another can be even stronger than usual because of their shared experience. No one will understand a child better than their siblings and they can greatly affect each other’s ability to successfully come through a difficult start in life.
Research backs up the benefits that keeping siblings together bring, including:
helping them to settle more quickly into a new place
protecting against the trauma of being placed into care
better mental health
better performance at school
easier social relationships
If separated, they may well also feel anxious about the welfare of their brothers and sisters and can find it strange and unsettling to suddenly be without them. These are extra worries that we could spare them in what is an already difficult time.
“You’ve got double the joy!”
Fostering siblings can be extremely rewarding for a foster carer, too. We recently spoke to foster carer Gillian about her experience caring for sibling groups. She explained to us that she feels, “a sense of joy - that you’ve got double the joy” and told us how she keeps in contact with many of the children she has cared for, even after they have moved on.
“We still see the twins, I saw them at the weekend ‘cos the new family’s become like friends. They’re doing fantastically.”
Help us to keep siblings together
The aim of Fostering Rotherham is to provide the very best homes we can for the children in our care - and that includes keeping sibling groups together whenever possible. Do you have a home and a heart big enough to keep two or more siblings together? You would be making a massive difference to a child’s future by allowing them to stay with the sisters and brothers they love and rely on. Only got one spare room? You could still be able to help siblings. In some cases, where appropriate, it’s possible for younger siblings of the same sex to share a room.
We'll support you every step of the way
We understand that taking on a group of siblings can come with a dynamic of its own, so we offer support and training to provide you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need. We also have our excellent network of Mockingbird Hubs, dedicated social workers from within the local community and our amazing Therapeutic Team to help you every step of the way.
Learn more about fostering in Rotherham
If you have any questions about fostering in Rotherham, book a call back with a member of our experienced team at a time that suits you. All our call backs are confidential.