Most children and teens in the foster care system have experienced significant rejection, whether their biological parents ignored their most fundamental needs or acted violently against them in some way to bring a false semblance of control to the chaos of their own lives. — Blake Griffin Edwards, MSMFT, LMFT
Most of the time, siblings put into foster care have already been through so much. They need each other to get through difficult times and support each other in the absence of their legitimate parents. However, when all possibilities have been exhausted, the foster care system allows these children to be split into different caregivers or homes. An alternative solution to avoiding sibling separation and saving sibling relationships falls upon the sibling at least 18 years of age.
Kinship Foster Care
Can I Foster My Siblings?
Yes, it is possible. An older sibling may foster their immediate brothers and sisters, stepsiblings, and cousins. Fostering your siblings is along the lines of relatives fostering their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. This type is called kinship foster care.
How Am I Considered Legible In Fostering For Them?
Foster care for siblings involves the active role of the local authorities as they perform thorough assessments. Therefore, the sibling must qualify as a caregiver by undergoing a strict evaluation from the social worker.
Applying for fostering siblings requires the carer to be at least 18 years old with a stable source of income and residence of their own. Local authorities urge aspiring foster carers to check their local laws on the foster care requirements. Once approved, the foster carer signs a foster agreement confirming their roles, responsibilities, and limitations as the carer.
…you are looking for caregivers who not only have the capacity to parent just as any typical American parent would, but you are also looking for caregivers who have the capacity to parent children effectively who have mental health conditions, sometimes coupled with physical health conditions, sometimes coupled with developmental conditions. — Jill Duerr Berrick, PhD
Is Any Support Given To Foster Carers Like Me?
In this setup, carers receive developmental and financial support from local authorities. The state supervises the children’s upbringing and requires carers to work with professionals while the children are under their care. This kind of development support helps carers learn techniques from professionals.
They also receive training to improve their parenting skills. Older siblings fostering their siblings receive allowances to support the child and kinship care payments.
Informal Kinship Care
This setup is typical among grandparents who take over as parents after a kid’s parents have gone. The difference between informal and kinship care lies in the appointment of the guardian, the duration of the child’s stay, and the support given by the government.
[Social services] always assesses to see if the child(ren) can remain in the home while supportive and strengthening services are offered to the parents. However, if it is determined that child(ren) cannot safely remain in their homes during this time and we will further assess to see if they can be placed with relatives, as placement with a family member usually serves the best interests of the child due to the continuity of family connections, ties and identity. — Meredith Resnick L.C.S.W.
Appointment And Supervision
In fostering a child, kinship foster care shares similarities with informal kinship care. However, the informal way involves birth parents assigning a foster parent without local authorities’ direction. Some cases involve birth parents making verbal agreements with the concerned carers to care for their child in their absence. Without a formal appointment, the government cannot supervise the child’s foster carers.
Duration Of Foster Care
Compared to kinship foster care, the informal route gives parents the power to take the children back at any given time. Unlike in kinship foster care, there is no contract to honor in this setup. Under due process, the government also has the power to take children away from neglectful foster families despite the informal arrangement.
Support For Informal Arrangements
Under informal kinship, the birth parents are usually responsible for financially supporting the child. Besides, universal support is available to all children regardless of needs. Carers may also apply for additional support based on their discretion. The Child Services department grants this extra help.
In the end, when you are an older sibling trying to look out for the best interests of your kin, you can always choose to become their foster carer. Both kinship and informal foster care have pros and cons. It is crucial to ponder whether you are indeed capable financially, physically, and mentally for such a great but fulfilling responsibility.