Call for foster carers for brothers and sisters in Scotland
Almost two-thirds of local authorities in Scotland have had to split up siblings who are in care over the past year owing to the shortage of foster families, new research from the Fostering Network has shown.
The survey, published during Foster Care Fortnight (14 to 27 May), found that:
• Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of fostering services have struggled to find homes for groups of brothers and sisters in the past year, and have had to split them up because they haven’t had foster carers able to take them all.
• Over half (56 per cent) said that it has got harder to keep brothers and sisters together over the past five years.
• Four out of five (81 per cent) fostering services are looking for more foster carers for sibling groups than they were last year.
Sara Lurie, director of the Fostering Network Scotland, said: “Our relationships with our brothers and sisters are often some of the most important and longest lasting of our lives. Yet children in care, already dealing with the trauma of being separated from their parents, are all too often split up from their siblings as well.
“Sometimes brothers and sisters will be separated because it is in their best interests, but in general finding a foster family that can keep siblings together is crucial. The research released today shows the increasing struggle that fostering services face to find these foster families. We need to be getting the message out to people with room in their houses, and the energy, determination and skills to care for two, three or even four siblings.”
Foster carer Steve Conway, who fosters sibling groups, said: “Siblings deserve the chance to be together, to share the fun and joys together and to be close as they grow up. Brothers and sisters need one another because sometimes all that they have left in the world is the bond between them.
“We have fostered groups of brothers and sisters, and would do so again as we have many happy experiences. I would say to others, give them a small piece of your heart because they will remain there forever.”
The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 make clear that local authorities should try to keep children in care together wherever possible.
Across the UK, a child comes into care and needs a foster family every 22 minutes. The Fostering Network estimates that an extra 8,750 foster families are needed in 2012 alone.
To find out more about fostering and to explore foster carer films and blogs, visit www.22minutes.org.uk
For more information, case studies or to schedule interviews contact the Fostering Network press office on 020 7620 6425 or email email@example.com
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Notes to editors
1. The Fostering Network’s new research was based on responses from 16 Scottish fostering services during May 2012.
2. To encourage more people to become foster carers the Fostering Network has launched the 22 Minutes campaign. For more information visit www.22minutes.org.uk
3. On any one day there are more than 5,000 children living with 3,300 foster families in Scotland.
4. A child comes into care and needs a foster family every six hours in Scotland.
5. Foster Care Fortnight, the Fostering Network’s annual campaign to raise awareness of fostering and the need for more foster carers, runs from Monday 14 to Sunday 27 May 2012. Download our campaign press pack.
6. The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading charity for all those involved in foster care. It exists to make life better for fostered children and the families that care for them.