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#KeepingThePromise: Keeping Siblings Together

Keeping siblings together is one of the most important roles you could ever take on.

September 12 2023 - 4 min read

When siblings are kept together in foster care, you’re giving them the chance to stay together. To keep a part of their family with them. And by #KeepingThePromise, we have the opportunity to allow children in care to go through this difficult journey together and continue to support each in an unfamiliar environment.

What is The Promise?

The Promise is something we at FCA Scotland are firmly dedicated to.

#KeepThePromise is not just a hashtag we want trending. In line with the Scottish government, The Promise is a commitment to ensuring the improvement of the lives of children and young people in care.

So, in spite of their background and challenges, they have the opportunity to grow up safe, loved, and respected.

And it all started back in 2016 when Nicola Sturgeon promised care experienced people, including children and young people in foster care, that Scotland would do better for them. This promise led to the Care Review, which, for over three years, listened to the voices and stories of over 5,500 children and adults who had lived in care at some point in their lives.

But it didn’t stop there. The Care Review is what brings us to where we are today. The Promise. A commitment to not just provide loving, safe, secure, and supportive foster homes for children while they’re young, but to follow them through into their adult lives. It also highlighted the importance of children being able to maintain sibling relationships.

This system-changing commitment can help improve the lives of children and young people now, and give them the opportunity to have a bright, successful, and happy future.

Why siblings should stay together

There is no other bond quite like siblings. Typical squabbling aside, siblings share a connection that runs deeper than blood. They share a history, a connection, and a complex relationship.

Sadly, 37% of children with a sibling are separated when placed in care. This equates to around 20,000 children or more than one in three, which means thousands of siblings are split up in foster care.

When children and young people are taken from their families and put into care, they’re suddenly taken from everything they have ever known and thrust into an unfamiliar environment. And if siblings are separated in foster care, they lose an essential anchor to their family, as well as a source of comfort, familiarity, and a confidante.

For these children, who are already dealing with an overwhelming sense of trauma and abandonment, the separation from their siblings can be devastating.

Keeping foster siblings together gives them the comfort of having someone with them who they know and trust. This can help them feel safer and less isolated, making it easier for them to come out of their shell and settle into your home quicker. They also experience more stability, which is beneficial to their mental health, paving the way for a brighter future.

When you foster siblings, although it might seem like extra work, it can actually be very beneficial to you, the foster carer, too.

Children are far more likely to settle down and progress in their new home if they are kept together. They are there to support, comfort, and confide in each other, which can help make the transition that little bit easier. By keeping siblings together, you’ll be helping to keep a family together, providing them with familiarity, which might make it easier to help you all bond with each other.

And don’t forget, you’re paid per child, per week, so if you are keen to foster siblings, the more money you can earn. You’ll also receive comprehensive, specialist training and 24/7 support, so not only will you have the skills you need to be a brilliant foster parent, but you’ll never be alone in your journey.

What can happen when siblings are separated?

We believe that if children can’t stay with their parents, they should always stay with their siblings. That’s because separating siblings can come with heartbreaking challenges for both the children and their foster carers.

They can suffer a loss of emotional support, as separating them means depriving them of someone who comforts and understands them. Separation can also impact their ability to form meaningful relationships and trust others, as well as cause coping methods such as dissociation.

Another issue with separation is it can lead to increased levels of fear, grief, anxiety, and isolation. And studies have shown that if older children are removed from their sibling group, it can result in them feeling bad about themselves, making it harder to accept a new foster family in return.

So, what can be done to keep siblings together in foster care?

How FCA Scotland is #KeepingThePromise

Going into foster care can be extremely difficult to adjust to. But to go through it alone without the support and comfort of having your siblings with you can make it even harder.

That’s why FCA Scotland is dedicated to #KeepingThePromise.

We understand that the connection siblings share can be the only source of continuity in their lives, giving them the sense of safety and support they not only deserve but need. In order to #KeepThePromise, we have several initiatives to help support the children and families in our care and the foster families we work with.

Our Young Person’s Forum allows us to listen to children properly. Children work with our leadership team to discuss what we’re doing and how we can keep improving our work and our commitment.

We also actively encourage all children and young people to get involved and have their say in how we work, and our unique Team Parenting allows a model of support that forms a close-knit team of professionals around you and your foster child. Together, we can keep siblings together and give children the brightest future possible.

Siblings need your help

We will always do everything we can to keep brothers and sisters together, but we can’t do it without your help.

While caring for more than one child can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, you will never be alone. We offer some of the best training and support to give you the personal, one-to-one support you need, 24/7, 365 days a year. If you have the love, commitment, and space to care for siblings in need, then we would love to hear from you.

Are you thinking of fostering?

Download the FCA’s complete beginner’s guide to fostering a child. Find out more on how to foster a child and the process involved.

Download Guide