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“Living with foster carers made me closer to my brother”

Tiffany and her younger brother Callum came into care after experiencing severe neglect. They were initially placed with the same foster family but spent a lot of time arguing with each other, even though they said they did not want to be separated.

Things were not working out in their current foster family so their social worker needed to find a new home. For a short time, the siblings were placed with different sets of foster carers so that their individual needs to be identified. That’s when Tiffany first came to live with St Christopher’s foster carers.

Fostering pre-teens

Tiffany was placed with a foster family where the main foster carer was a man. He built a trusting relationship with her based on boundaries and safe care. This was the first time Tiffany had experienced a positive, caring male role model, so she was able to address her previous unsafe behaviour around males.

To begin with, Tiffany wasn’t allowed to go out on her own unsupervised as she didn’t understand ‘stranger danger’. Gradually the foster carers showed Tiffany how to keep herself safe outside the home and that they trusted her, so she was able to do more things independently. Because they praised Tiffany when she behaved in a positive way, she responded by sticking to the boundaries.

Being trusted by her carers boosted Tiffany’s confidence and helped her to flourish in other areas. She started a new school, made strong friendships, and joined a gymnastics group.

Reuniting families

A few weeks later, Callum moved in with the same St Christopher’s foster family as Tiffany. He had been struggling at school, so the main foster carer made sure to sit with him every evening to help with homework. The carer identified triggers that made Callum more likely to give up or become angry when doing homework, and worked with the school to develop tactics that would make tasks more manageable.

Callum and his foster carer also discovered a shared love of football and golf. Playing and watching these sports has taught Callum about discipline and sportsmanship – sometimes it is OK to be angry, but it does not need to ruin relationships with people you care about and who care about you. He now uses sport as a way of safely expressing himself and using up his bags of energy.

Living together with their new foster family has strengthened Callum and Tiffany’s sibling bond. The foster carers make sure they both receive individual attention and have been consistent in their messages, so the children have settled in well.

Foster carers for siblings

Foster children usually need their own bedroom, even if they are siblings. Sometimes, if a foster carer with more than one spare room isn’t available, brothers and sisters are separated.

Things worked out for Callum and Tiffany, but we are looking for more people with multiple spare bedrooms who want to become foster parents. Could you be one of them?

Find out about fostering