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5 Benefits of Keeping Siblings Together in Foster Care

According to The Fostering Network, around 30,000 children enter the foster care system every single year. Amongst the thousands of children looking for a new place to call home, many of them are siblings. This creates a big debate over whether or not siblings should be kept together. Some households may only have room for one child, meaning siblings may have to wait longer to find the right level of care. 

Despite this, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that keeping siblings together is the right approach. Here are five benefits of doing this: 

#1 Helps them settle in

Keeping siblings together will help them both settle into their new homes. A lot of foster children struggle with isolation when they move to a new place. They don’t know the new family and it takes time for them to come out of their shells. Having a friendly face with them at all times eases them into this new life and makes it much easier to settle in. 

#2 Maintain family connections

When siblings are separated, they lose ties to their biological family. In fact, they may grow up knowing very little about where they truly come from. Keeping siblings together ensures that family connections are maintained. Especially if one child is older and can remember life before entering the foster care system. It helps the other child know who they are and develop a sense of identity that they may struggle to find if they grow up alone elsewhere. 

#3 Leads to better behaviour

Studies have shown that siblings who are placed together in foster care are more likely to behave well. One particular study found that children who have positive relationships with siblings are less likely to express negative behavioural patterns than those without a sibling. Having someone close to them that they get along with and have known all their lives influences the way they behave and can make life easier for foster parents. 

#4 Foster parents find it easier to adapt

Following on from above, foster parents will find it easier to adapt and look after foster children when they’re siblings. Why? Because siblings look after one another. They spend time together, keep one another occupied and so on. It lessens the stress on the foster parent’s shoulders to ensure the child is settling in and is always given enough attention. This leads to a much happier family life as everyone feels more relaxed and less tense or isolated. 

#5 Creates fewer traumatic events

Being put in the foster care system is a traumatic event for any child. It usually means that something bad has happened. They may have been neglected/abandoned or perhaps their parents both passed away and there are no legal guardians. In any situation, it’s hard for the child to come to terms with what’s happening in their life. 

Imagine going through this and then having your brother or sister taken from you. It compounds the trauma and is one of the reasons foster children suffer from mental health problems. Keeping siblings together in foster care means they don’t have to deal with as many traumatic events. No matter what, they will always have each other. 

There’s no denying that fostering is important, but it’s just as important to keep siblings together throughout the foster care system. It’s beneficial just only for them, but for future foster families as well.