What fostering siblings is like, and what skills and qualities you'll need to be a good foster carer for them.
Providing a home for siblings together is really important and can help children maintain relationships with some of the most significant people in their lives.
Brothers and sisters will often settle into a fostering family more quickly together because they can support and rely on each other. The experiences they share and the comfort they give each other are extremely important.
Over a third of children in care in Bristol have one or two siblings that they need to be fostered with. We've even had a group of six siblings who found a home together with foster carers!
Most siblings that need foster families are younger than ten years old.
Those who foster siblings say they love having a busy household, and that it's a big advantage that children have a friend and playmate they've known all their lives.
"My sister is only three years old, but she has a big heart with me in it.
Jayden is braver than me, she is not scared of the dark like me. When I was left alone in a big house, all I had was my sister to keep me company till someone returned."
Joseph, age 7
What skills you need to foster siblings
To foster siblings you'll need to have:
- space in your home: children under the age of eight and children of the same gender can share a room
- organisation and routine: you need to be able to set clear boundaries and expectations, to help children relax and fit into their new home
- time, energy and patience to care for two or sometimes three children you need to be able to support each child, whose needs will be different to those of their sibling
- the ability to manage conflict, as it's normal for siblings to fall out sometimes
- a good sense of humour and the ability to have fun!
It will help to have a good support network of friends and family around you.
This can help with the practicalities of having more than one child, for example having to take kids to two different schools.