Judge has ruled girls, all under 10, cannot be separated and foster mother feels she is too old to look after them
Social services in Rotherham are looking for a new adoptive home for four sisters because their foster mother feels she is too old to look after them.
A care plan approved by a judge has ruled that the girls, all under 10, cannot be separated. Their 66-year-old foster mother, who has been kept anonymous to protect the identity of the children, said the girls needed a home for at least the next 18 years, and that she and her husband were unable to provide that.
“They’re lovely,” she told the Guardian. “I’m not going to say they’re easy work. No children are. I don’t know anybody who finds parenting easy, but considering what they’ve gone through, they’re lovely.
“They do ask when they’re going to get a new mummy and daddy and we keep saying that they’re looking. I just hope there is someone out there who will take on four little girls, because they would have a lovely readymade family.”
Rotherham council said finding people who were willing to adopt groups of siblings was particularly hard. There are only 12 groups of four or more siblings needing adoption nationwide, two of which are in Rotherham.
The local authority offers a package of support for anyone willing to adopt a larger group of siblings, including financial help to buy a bigger car and other items for the home.
The girls were brought into care because of neglect, and their foster mother said the eldest had been playing the role of a mother to her sisters when they first arrived with the family.
“The eldest was like a little mum and she isn’t now. She knows that she can go off and do her own thing on her own if she wants. She doesn’t have to worry about the others,” she said. “They love each other and they’ve always been together. It would be devastating for these children to be split up.”
The foster mother and her husband have seven children, six of whom they have adopted and three of whom were siblings. They have fostered more than 200 children over the past 35 years. They have 16 grandchildren and say they will continue to foster for another couple of years.
Gordon Watson, the deputy leader of Rotherham council and the cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said having children was “a gift and something to be treasured” but that some were “not lucky enough to be born into families where they are put first in this way”.
“And for some children, keeping bonds they have already developed with their siblings can make all the difference in order for them to be able to thrive,” he said. “This group of four young girls have a very close sibling bond and it would no doubt cause them further grief if they were to be split up in order to find them permanent homes.”
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