Fostering Siblings

Foster Carers Tony and Debbie

Tony and his wife Debbie started fostering in 2017, when their own children were 9, 8 and 6. 
They currently look after two siblings and a baby.

Tony and Debbie’s lives have always been focused around young people, with Tony’s experience as a youth worker, teacher and basketball coach and Debbie a nursery nurse.

Tony told us how fostering siblings has enriched his family.

“We foster siblings because we can give them the same love, affection and family environment that we both had growing up. It’s not about how much money someone has, it’s about the love and time a person has for the young person.”

“I’m one of 11 siblings and Debbie is one of three, with a very close family.”

“Siblings share a history and they’ve been through the same experiences, so they can support each other with new experiences.  They settle much quicker because they’re with someone who is normal and familiar to them.” 

“Siblings aren’t just a comfort for each other, they are part of each other’s identity, which is hugely important to that young person.”

“Siblings can also give each other courage to try things and take the first step, which is the most important.” 

“It’s the little things like a look or a smile they give you, when they achieve something, they thought they could never achieve.  It’s the fact that they can’t wait to get back to you, and you can’t wait to get back to them. “

“Things like that make us realise we’re doing something right.  They make everything we do worthwhile.”

Fostering with birth children

Tony’s three girls were used to other young people being in their lives, as they had previously provided supported lodgings for young people, so the transition to fostering was easy for them to accept.

"Speaking with our girls, they are open and willing to talk about things and talk through any problems.  It’s brought us closer as a family unit and we share all our experiences together."

“The excitement of working with young people has rubbed off on our children. They see the benefit and reward of working with young people, so much so that one of them wants to be a foster carer when she’s older”

Taking that first step

Even with their experience and skills, Tony told us he was still daunted taking the first step and making a call to us about becoming a foster carer!

“I remember making that first phone call and being really nervous and looking back now, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my family”

"My advice to any future foster carers would be just be yourself and don’t believe all the myths that are out there."

"Just make that first step, the support is there, you’re not just thrown in at the deep end and left." 

"We’ve been supported from day one, and the young people are always engaging with support too.  It’s like an extension of a big family."