80 per cent of foster children in Derbyshire are separated from sibilings

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Nearly 80 per cent of children placed into foster care in Derbyshire in the last year were split from their siblings, figures show.

A Freedom of Information request by the charity Action for Children revealed 79 per cent of siblings placed by Derbyshire County Council had to be separated.

Between April 2013 and March 2014, the council placed 47 sibling groups into foster care, which involved 96 individual children.

Of those, 37 sibling groups – 76 children – were split up.

Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “For many youngsters, being taken into care can be a confusing and upsetting time.

“Add the distress of being split up from your brother or sister into the mix and the impact will last a lifetime.

“Nobody wants to separate brothers and sisters, but there simply aren’t enough foster carers who can look after for siblings.

“By arming ourselves with a pool of dedicated people who can provide a loving and caring home to groups of children, we will avoid breaking more young hearts in the future.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council stressed the figures only relate to children placed with its in-house foster carers.

The spokesman added: “We use a variety of foster care providers to ensure children’s needs are best met, including, when appropriate, keeping brothers and sisters together.

“It is not always right in every case to keep brothers and sisters together as some children’s needs are so acute they need individual care.

“However, when it’s right, we make every effort to keep brothers and sisters together.

“We currently have around 420 foster carers but we are always looking for more people to join our fostering team to help provide safe, happy homes for children in Derbyshire.

“We particularly need people to come forward to offer homes for sibling groups and teenagers and are looking for people to join our specialist paid for Contract Care scheme which gives support to 11 to 18 year olds with complex emotional and behavioural needs.

“We offer our approved foster carers a range of benefits including on-going support and training, weekly allowances and additional annual allowances for things such as birthdays and school clothing.

“If people are interested in finding out more about fostering please get in touch on 0800 083 7744 or visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/fostering.”