Programme Coordinator Louis discusses working with care experienced sibling groups 

June 18th, 2024

Sibling relationships are vital to cared-for young people, however these sibling groups are often overlooked when discussing care experience. Working with groups of siblings has been a common theme for myself and other 10-16 Programme Coordinators.

These sibling groups are sometimes fostered together but are often split in different placements, which is why the work we do at GMYN is so important in bringing these siblings together. 

A crucial part of our work is keeping care-experienced young people safe.

Cared-for young people and care leavers can face multiple challenges due to early adverse experiences, meaning they struggle compared to their peers.

GMYN has been helping young people aged 10-25 since 2012 through programmes to build social skills, encourage positive wellbeing, develop self-esteem and provide skills for the future. 

The support we provide is flexible to meet the needs of young people, whether through regular 1:1 meetings to support entering employment, engaging in weekly life skills workshops or being that person at the end of the phone when needed.

I work with lots of young people aged 10-16s in our Tameside care experience programme, including several sibling groups. For example, I have worked with two siblings from a large sibling group, who are split up across three members of the family. These two siblings attended regularly throughout the first year of this programme. 

In the second year, they have moved to different schools, and struggle to get to weekly sessions, but still attend sessions every holiday. At Easter 2024, the young people fed back that ‘GMYN is the only time we see each other’. It is crucially important that children in care maintain family relationships as much as possible, so that they continue to have loving and consistent support around them.

Since January, I have been working with a brother and sister who were split up for a time, but are now in the same placement. The social worker for the younger sibling told me that they don’t get on. 

In GMYN weekly sessions, I was surprised to see that they would often choose to be on the same ‘team’ in activities. It seemed like the older sibling was taking the younger one under their wing. When I asked her about this, she said “We get on alright actually, we’re just always bored or we don’t get to do stuff together.”

Without these GMYN sessions, the young people we support wouldn’t be able to see their siblings or develop their relationship with one another. This is a vital part of our care experience programmes that we are proud to deliver across Greater Manchester. 

To find out more information on our care experience programmes and the services we provide, please see our page here.

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