Newbury man says his life was 'transformed' by being fostered with his brother

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Penny Silvester

A Newbury man who went into foster care when he was four years old, says having a stable home with his older brother transformed his life.

This week the children's charity Barnardo's has put out an urgent call for more families to come forward to help look after young people who need care: especially siblings.

Carl Abery went into foster care with when he was a young child. Today he works as a fitness coach at his local leisure centre. He says being able to stay his older brother made a big difference.

  • Carl Arbery

He said: "A lot of the time it is a struggle for kids in care to emotional immerse themselves with the foster carer, so if they've got a sibling there they still get that emotional connection day in day out as they grow up."

Nathan Bray, Carl's personal advisor, said: "Research shows that our relationship with our siblings is the longest we will have in our lives because it doesn't just stop when we become adults."

"It's really important that contact and continuity is there."

The number of children referred to Barnardo's fostering service has shot up by 36% in the last year.

The charity says that's led to a shortage of carers, especially for siblings.

  • Brenda Farrell, Barnardo's UK Head of Fostering

Brenda Farrell, Barnardo's UK Head of Fostering, said: "At Barnardo’s, we recognise that when children have a traumatic experience they have already lost the opportunity to remain at home with their birth parents."

"Therefore to keeping them together at such a critical time is so important."

Cllr Dominic Boeck, from West Berkshire Council, said: "We try to keep siblings together but it's not always possible. It can be complex and we need to find foster parents who are able to take more than one child and to deal with their needs."

The charity says fostering is open to people from all backgrounds to give children a safe, secure and loving home life.