More foster carers needed for brothers and sisters
Almost two-thirds of local authorities 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:
- Two-thirds (65 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.
- Three-quarters (73 per cent) said that it has got harder to keep brothers and sisters together over the past five years.
- Four out of five (83 per cent) fostering services are looking for more foster carers for sibling groups than they were last year.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, 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 Joanne Vayro said: “Looking after siblings is something I really do enjoy. It makes the children so much happier to stay together and they worry less. Siblings can be hard work but seeing them grow together is fantastic. You need to be organised and routines are very important when you have a large sibling group, but I must say we never have a dull moment. There is always something going on! I would definitely do it again.”
Figures on the need for foster carers for brothers and sisters in Scotland are also available.
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