Siblings Day

Author: TACT

Siblings Day marks an opportunity to celebrate the close bonds that exist between brothers and sisters, while also highlighting the important need for more foster carers who are able to look after sibling groups.

First and foremost, fostering siblings helps keep brothers and sisters together. Children coming into care have often had traumatic experiences and been through more family dysfunction than they should have at their age. Siblings are often the only constant support network and consistent presence that young people in care have and therefore when siblings are placed together they retain a connection to their family, helping them to feel as comfortable and secure as possible.

One of our foster carers in the North West, Karen, shared her experiences of caring for a sibling group:

“My motivation to foster siblings was to enable families to grow up together, not lose contact with their birth family; to keep them as a unit really. I’d hate to think that you were split up from brothers or sisters if you were put into the care system, as that’s the one consistent they’re going to have growing up.”

“I think it’s really important to keep siblings together – they’re able to have that immediate contact with birth family even though they’ve been removed from their birth parents and might not see any of their other birth family. To have that ability to grow up in the same household as a sibling is really important because then they’ve got that connection and have got family around them at all times. They’re not wondering what’s happened to their brother or sister and they’re not adding any additional anxieties to what’s already a traumatic time in their life.”

A study of local authorities found that 45% of sibling groups in care were split up, with more than 12,000 children separated from at least one of their siblings – numbers we are keen to urgently reduce. We are particularly keen to hear from potential foster carers with more than one spare bedroom who could provide the space and care for larger sibling groups, although in some circumstances you could care for a same-sex sibling group even if you had just one spare bedroom.

“After becoming approved carers for TACT we found out that we were going to have two teenage siblings placed with us. Since living with us our foster children have both thrived. I love seeing the children achieve things they never thought they could.”

– Elaine


As Karen describes, the benefits of caring for sibling groups in care can be incredibly rewarding:

“It’s helped one [of the children I care for] because she sometimes has anxiety issues and she has a strong bond with her sibling, who can say things to her to help her calm down or not be so anxious. She obviously knows her a lot more than I do and knows what makes her feel calm, and there’s probably things she can talk to her sibling that she wouldn’t talk to me about.”

“As a result of having the sibling group I have together over the last 3 years they’ve been with me, the positive I see is that they can see how each other are developing, they compare how each other are doing in school, they have a bit of competitiveness with each other. They even sit and share memories from being at home together and compare what they remember with each other.”

“They have that real close connection, they look after each, and they’ve just got that real sense of family bonds together. They love each other so much, they’re really flourishing being together and having that connection they probably wouldn’t have had if they were split up.”