A powerful, emotive new video released by the council encourages more residents to consider fostering siblings.
Roy, aged 60, and Filomena, aged 58, from Hillingdon, first fostered a group of siblings aged two to four, who had been removed from a household of ongoing neglect and abuse.
There are approximately 300 children currently in care in the borough, many of them are siblings, and it can be particularly difficult to find foster homes for sibling groups.
The council endeavours to keep young siblings together as a family to help them feel safe and secure when they come into care. The new video gives an insight into what it’s like to foster brothers and sisters and how rewarding the role can be.
Filomena said: “When we first met the brother and sisters, I could feel myself welling up as they were so malnourished, their hair was dirty, their clothes were old and far too small for them. We could see how neglected they had been, and I cried so much.
“As they began to relax more and settle in, it was incredible to watch them grow in confidence in a safe environment. It’s really sad to learn what the children have been through but fostering can make the biggest difference to their lives.”
Roy said: “If you’re thinking about fostering, it’s imperative that you are committed, and you must never let them down as they have been rejected so many times before. Looking after more than one child may seem overwhelming at first, but if you put in the time, love and affection - you will reap the rewards and make a real difference.”
Cllr Jane Palmer, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: ”We do everything we can to avoid separating young siblings from each other, and we are appealing to more residents who have one or more spare rooms to step forward. Caring for a sibling group may be complex and require more time, energy and commitment from foster carers, but you will be fully supported every step of the way and can really enhance the lives of local children.”