Why Foster Siblings?

Why Foster Siblings

Every day, children who have experienced abuse or neglect are placed in foster care, and research shows that siblings who are placed in foster care together often feel safer and can help to adapt to their new family and community. What may not be so obvious is that foster parents provide a safe, supportive environment for siblings and their siblings as a group. Sources: 8

We sat down with foster parent Hannah to discuss the rewards and complexities of caring for siblings. There is always a limit on the number of homes that can be accommodated by a sibling group, and sibling groups can sometimes be so large that they are placed with foster families together, even if the child has been divided into different foster families. Sources: 6, 8

One of the few things that makes foster siblings unique is the ability to take two or three or more children into a home, rather than just one. Sources: 6

Read on to see why it is important to promote sibling groups and why you should consider funding them. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it will hopefully give you a few things to think about. Most children in foster care are at home because of some kind of abuse or neglect. Sources: 2, 6

In some cases, siblings are the only family to show love, and such internships should be sought whenever possible. Giving siblings the chance to be together as a family can help improve their emotional health, as they are less stressed when they know they have someone to rely on. Placing siblings with their relatives, including older siblings, increases their chances of retaining their sense of identity and sense of connection with their siblings. Sources: 1, 2

States, provinces, territories, and placement agencies must devote resources and resources to identifying and replicating policies that successfully hold siblings together, such as recruiting and supporting foster and adoption families willing to accept groups of siblings. Sources: 1

You may feel close to a half-sibling and want to maintain a relationship with them while you are in foster care. Should you consider a sibling relationship, or should you have a separate foster or adoption relationship for siblings who have been separated in foster care? If siblings are separated during foster care or adoption, they should be able to remain separated through foster care or adoption. Sources: 1, 5

If you think you can provide a caring home for a group of siblings, contact our friendly team of nursing advisors. If you are aware of the behaviour of the siblings you have supported and would like to talk about keeping in touch with them, our NFA network and support team is at your disposal to offer you help and advice and be your first point of contact. And if you are thinking about becoming a foster sibling yourself, or would like to learn more about caring for siblings together, read our guide on how foster parents work with their foster siblings and how caring for siblings works. Sources: 5

It is much easier to maintain a relationship with a foster child, brother or sister if they live together in the same house. Sources: 0

Perhaps the most important reason to consider a sibling group is to prevent additional trauma to the child. When it comes to care, sibling groups are often divided into two or more groups, such as a family group or a group of siblings. Sources: 0

When everything else in the child’s life is turned upside down, keeping the children together provides at least one familiar point of contact. Bringing more than one child into the house at a time is not the right way for everyone, but it can provide a loving and supportive home to have more children. Sources: 0, 3

While many children in the foster system have siblings because they are currently housed together, choosing a sibling group is a discussion that prospective adoptive parents must have, and sometimes even social workers do not know that foster children can have siblings. The FCCA staff are even adoptive parents of sibling groups and can help as much as they can. Siblings can be separated from their parents, grandparents, siblings or even other family members. Sources: 3, 7

The pain literally drives the child crazy, “said Dr. Mary Ann Daley, director of the FCCA’s Children’s Center for Children and Families. Where possible, it is often beneficial for both foster and adoptive parents to consider admitting known siblings and, if necessary, to take steps to reunite siblings. The adoption of siblings from foster families is usually a difficult process for foster parents, carers and foster siblings alike. Sources: 7

Studies of siblings in the child welfare system suggest that siblings who have also been placed in foster care lead to a significant increase in child abuse and neglect, according to the FCCA’s Children and Families Center. When a child who is placed with a foster family immediately does so with his or her siblings, it becomes a priority to place them together. 

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