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15 June 2021

Keswick foster carer and mum of five shares her story to encourage more people to consider fostering siblings

Cumbria County Council has launched a campaign this week to try and find more foster carers who can offer homes to siblings and help keep families together.

The council already supports a community of more than 250 fostering households across Cumbria but there is an urgent need for foster carers who have room for a sibling group of two or more. Keeping siblings together in foster care offers each child an extra layer of support and can reduce feelings of isolation.

Catherine and Andrew Stone, from Keswick, were approved as foster carers last October and had two siblings aged 3 and 9 placed with them in November. The couple who have five children of their own felt it was important to foster siblings and give them the chance to stay together.

Catherine, who was a childminder for nearly two decades before fostering, said: “The fact we’ve got five children of our own made us think about what would happen to them if anything happened to us and our own children had to go into care; the thought of them being split up was just heart breaking. Although we only have one spare room, it is a big room, so we felt we had the space and time for two children.

“Before we made the decision we asked our own children about whether they were happy to be part of a fostering family and they were all onboard. Our youngest daughter was very happy that she would finally have younger siblings and, because of my childminding, they have always grown up with other children in the house.

“The children moved in with us in November and we went into lockdown in January but actually it gave us lots of time together to bond with them.

“In their short lives our children have already had a number of ‘moves’ so we have recently agreed to be their long-term foster carers, which gives them the security of knowing what the future holds.

“To people who are thinking about fostering I would say definitely get in touch and ask the questions and attend an information evening and make your decision. We have found it very rewarding looking after the children and knowing we have been able to make sure they can stay together and help them to become part of our family.”

Siblings can share bedrooms depending on their age, but we are really looking for people who can offer space, time and love to brothers and sisters. In return we offer an excellent package of support and generous payments.

Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “If you have been thinking about fostering and have the room at home and in your life to care for more than one child, then please attend one of our events and find out more.”

Anyone interested in find out more is invited to attend our upcoming ‘Meet our sibling foster carers’ event on Thursday 24 June from 1.30pm to 2.30pm. To join the meeting simply click on this link the start of the event  - https://zoom.us/j/99082558447 

For further information visit cumbria.gov.uk/fostering

Cumbria County Council has launched a campaign this week to try and find more foster carers who can offer homes to siblings and help keep families together.