Siblings being separated can be emotionally damaging for children at any age. We always try to keep siblings in the same placement wherever we can to avoid emotional damage and stress on young people. Having a brother or sister by their side when moving into a new home can be a great comfort for them, allowing them to settle in quicker.
There is a rise in the number of children going into foster care, and a big number of them are siblings, but without the extra room and not enough carers, where will these children go? Many carers only have 1 spare bedroom, meaning only 1 sibling can go into that home. It is extremely important that we change the number of children being split up, but that can only be done by recruiting more foster carers.
There are many benefits to children staying together when in placements, such as maintaining a sense of identity and having a birth family member by their side throughout the changes in their life gives a sense of stability. Children who go into care with their siblings often settle into the new home better as a result of this. If the children have experienced trauma together they can also provide emotional, social and psychological support to one another.
The separation can lead to an increased chance of many psychological disorders; such as anger management issues, serious behavioural issues, and in some scenarios, depression.
One study of siblings in late permanent placements found that half of the placements had been made without any plans for sibling contact
Sometimes siblings are separated for their own benefit, for example, if a child has behavioral or mental issues and requires more attention than their siblings, they would then benefit from being in a home where a foster carer can give them 1 to 1 attention and care. If siblings are separated it should be a priority to keep the contact between them as often as needed to ensure memories and relationships don't fade.
Some siblings can share a bedroom based on certain requirements being met, for example, if the siblings have shared a bedroom all their life, they are the same gender and between a certain age bracket, then it won't be a problem for them to share as it may be more stressful for them to be separated as they are used to being together, but each placement is looked at individually.
Can you foster?...
If you have a spare bedroom, time, and patience, you can enquire to become a foster carer with us and help these siblings who need a safe and loving home.
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