Why is it important to keep siblings together in foster care?
Research shows that placing siblings – brothers or sisters – together in foster care helps make for a more successful and stable placement, as well as more positive long-term outcomes for children.
However, placing siblings together is a real challenge and as a result, many siblings in foster care are separated, which breaks bonds and removes critical emotional support. This in turn challenges their sense of identity and can cause real problems, including lack of confidence, anxiety and loneliness. With a BBC report in 2018 estimating that as many as 5,000 children in care are separated from their siblings each year, the scale of this problem is large.
So why are siblings separated at all? There are a number of possible reasons, including the fact there are too many siblings in one family, or it could be because of family dynamics and sibling rivalry. The biggest reason, however, is that there’s a national shortage of foster parents who have the space and capacity to foster sibling groups. However, keeping siblings together in foster care can be a truly rewarding experience.
This is a specialist field presenting unique challenges, which is why we provide foster parents of siblings with extensive training and the back-up of a large professional team. Working alongside you, they’ll help you give siblings the support and care they need to grow confidently together.
So if you think this might be for you, we’d very much welcome your application.
How do you become a foster parent?
The first step is to have a chat with one of our friendly advisors - either complete our online form or give us a call on 0800 369 8512. We'll speak to you about the role, take a few details and answer any of your questions.
When you're ready to progress, there's a standard application and assessment process that you'll need to go through to become an approved foster parent, including home visits, background checks and references, training and attending a fostering panel. You can find out more about each step below.
Who can become a foster parent?
Almost anybody can apply to become a foster parent - the only initial requirements are that you're over 21 years old, you have the legal right to work in the UK and that you have a spare bedroom that's always available to a child in your care. Of course, you'll also need to be kind, caring and dedicated to making a difference to a child.
Other than that, we welcome applications from people from all backgrounds, religions and ethnic groups. You can be gay, straight, bisexual or transgender, single, married or cohabiting. We also support foster parents with disabilities and health conditions, who are able to meet the needs of children in care.
So if you've ever wondered whether you could foster - we can't encourage you enough to take the first step and speak to our friendly team.
How do local authorities place children with families?
When a child comes into foster care, the local authority becomes responsible for their health, safety and wellbeing, and while local authorities have their own 'pool' of foster parents, sadly they generally don't have enough to cope with the rising number of children needing a foster home. That's where specialist independent fostering agencies, like Fosterplus, come in.
We work with local authorities across England and Scotland, and receive hundreds of referrals every day. Our dedicated referrals team review each referral and identify any foster families who could meet the child's needs. If all parties agree - the foster parents, their Fosterplus social worker and regional manager, and the local authority - then we'll work closely with the local authority to make arrangements. Wherever possible, this will also include initial introductions between the child and family.
Other types of fostering
Could you support a young person in care through their crucial teenage years?
Giving a child a stable, loving home when they can't return to their birth family.
In Scotland, a short-term placement is called Interim care and can last up to 2 years.
Caring for a child for more than 2 years and often up until they turn eighteen.
In Scotland, the local authority may apply for permanence if a child won't be returning home.
Caring for a child who's placed with another foster family to give them time to rest.
Welcoming a child at short notice who's often distressed - usually a night or two.
Parent & child
Giving a parent the crucial skills they need to care for their baby or young child.
We're looking for foster parents who can care for children with a range of disabilities.
Caring for young people who have arrived in the UK without their parents to seek asylum.
Can't find what you're looking for?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
Your local team
Find contact details for your local office team. We’re always happy for you to pop-in and chat.