Things You Need to Know About Fostering Siblings
Explore vital insights on fostering siblings. Learn the essential things you need to know about providing a supportive home for multiple children.
When you become a foster parent, you’ll have a choice between the different types of fostering available. One of the types of fostering we always need more caring foster parents for is fostering siblings.
Welcoming siblings into your home is a rewarding and important decision. In the UK, there is a growing need for foster families who are willing to keep siblings together during times of transition. In this blog, we’ll look at the things you need to know about fostering siblings, explore the significance of maintaining these crucial family bonds, and examine the benefits, challenges, and provide some practical tips to make your journey a successful and rewarding one.
Why Keeping Siblings Together in Foster Care is Vital
Sadly, it’s not always possible to keep siblings together in foster care. At Fosterplus, we always try to keep sibling groups together wherever possible, which is why we need more loving and caring people like you to help us keep this promise.
Siblings aren’t always able to stay together for a number of reasons, including space in foster homes, a significant age difference in the sibling group, or a lack of foster families willing to take them on.
One of the main reasons to consider fostering siblings is the importance of preserving family connections. Siblings share a unique bond that provides emotional support and stability during challenging times. Keeping siblings together can help them navigate the foster care system with a sense of familiarity and comfort.
Benefits of Fostering Siblings
There are a number of negative effects of separating siblings in foster care. If a sibling group is removed from their birth family, and then further separated from their siblings, it can lead to increased levels of fear, grief, anger, anxiety, and isolation. Research has shown that older children taken into care and separated from their younger siblings can often result in them having a hard time feeling accepted, and accepting their new family in return.
Although fostering siblings might sound challenging, there are many benefits that come with fostering brothers and sisters together.
Children are far more likely to settle down and progress in their new foster home if they are kept with their siblings. This is because they have someone with them who they know and trust, which helps them feel safer and less alone. Being fostered together can give them a sense of continuity and belonging, which can make the transition easier for everyone involved.
Placing siblings together gives them the comfort of having a piece of their family with them. This can help them feel safer and make it easier for them to come out of their shell and settle into your home quicker. Sibling relationships are nurtured as they go through this journey together, allowing them to support one another and experience more stability in their placement. This in turn is extremely beneficial to the children’s mental health.
But, are there any challenges of fostering siblings?
While fostering siblings can be wonderfully beneficial to both the sibling group and you, it can come with its share of challenges, two of these being:
- Managing relationships: While the bond between siblings is a source of strength and comfort, it can also present challenges. As a foster carer, you may need to navigate conflicts and rivalry from time to time. Establishing open communication and setting clear expectations can help manage these dynamics effectively.
- Fostering individual needs: Each child is unique, and fostering siblings may require addressing individual needs within the sibling group. Being open to the distinct personalities, interests, and development stages of each child is crucial to providing tailored care and support.
5 Tips for Fostering Siblings and Things You Need to Know
Sadly, 37% of children with a sibling are separated when placed in care. This equates to around 20,000 children or more than one in three, which means thousands of siblings are split up in foster care.
If you are open to welcoming siblings into your home, here are some tips for fostering siblings that can help.
1. You Don’t Need Special Requirements
Contrary to what you might think, there aren’t any special requirements needed to foster siblings. As long as you are over 21, have the legal right to work in the UK, and have at least one large spare room, you already meet the minimum requirements. Your foster allowance will cover any expenses your foster children might need, and your support team at Fosterplus are on hand 24/7 to assist you with any help or concerns you might have.
The most important thing you need to keep siblings together is a loving, stable home, and the patience, energy, time, and compassion to meet the needs of each individual child.
2. Give Individualised Attention
When fostering siblings, it’s important to recognise and celebrate each child’s individuality. Every child is different and they may be different ages, at different levels of education, react to situations differently, etc. It’s crucial to recognise and celebrate these differences and ensure they each receive the same amount of love, attention, and focus. Allocate time for one-on-one interactions and activities to nurture their interests, strengths, and challenges.
3. Be Aware of Shared Trauma
It’s commonplace for sibling trauma and foster care to go hand in hand. The children are going through a traumatic and upsetting experience that no child should have to endure. Because of this, it is likely that they will be living with their shared trauma in their daily lives. We’re here to help support both you and your foster children as you navigate these tricky roads together. We’ll work with you to create a trauma-informed and supportive environment so you can help your foster children heal.
4. Celebrate Milestones
Every milestone - no matter how big or small - should be celebrated. Whether it’s coming home from school with a brilliant result, remembering to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ scoring a goal in football, or sharing toys nicely. Whatever milestone your foster siblings achieve, think of ways you can celebrate them together. This can help them feel valued individually and create special shared memories of a loving and stable family environment.
5. Open Communication
When fostering siblings, just like when fostering a single child, it’s crucial to create a safe space for open communication. Encourage your foster siblings to express their feelings and concerns to you, whenever they want, and make sure you communicate openly with them as well. If they don’t want to open up straight away, let them know it’s OK and you’re there for them whenever they need you. Understanding their perspectives can help in building trust and a positive relationship between the whole family.
Protect Sibling Relationships in Foster Care with Fosterplus
As a foster parent, you play a crucial role in supporting and nurturing positive sibling relationships and sibling development in foster care. You’ll be helping to keep a family together and providing them with a sense of security and stability. Something they might not have experienced before.
At Fosterplus, we understand the joys and challenges that can come with fostering siblings. That’s why we offer 24/7 support for foster parents, so you never have to go on this journey alone. If you would like to know more about how to foster siblings and keeping siblings together in foster care, give our friendly team a call. We’d love to answer any questions you might have.
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