Two County Durham teenagers are encouraging potential foster carers to consider offering brothers and sisters a loving family home together.

SISTERS Amber and Chloe were just 15 and 16 when they were taken into care. Two years on, they are sharing their story, highlighting the importance of keeping brothers and sisters together, and urging carers to offer other brothers and sisters the same opportunity that meant so much to them.

“When they told us we were going into care, they said we were going to have to be split up because nobody was able to take two teenage girls together, but I just told them there was no way that could happen, we had to stay together,” says younger sister Amber.

Durham County Council’s fostering team worked hard to find a foster carer who was willing and able to take in two teenage girls. Finding a suitable family meant the world to the sisters.

Amber explains: “When we were first taken to our foster carers’ home we were so nervous about everything. I could hardly eat… Chloe was coming to me crying – we could cry together.”

Chloe adds: “We were just taken to a house to stay with strangers. We’d never met them and we didn’t know what was happening.

“Having my sister there meant we could help each other through it. I couldn’t really have coped without my sister.

“I still can’t, it’s so much better being together.”

The girls stayed with their foster family for a year and a half, experiencing family life together.

Amber says: “We got used to things, our foster carers helped us learn to cope and tried really hard to include us in family life.

“We’d never eaten together round a table when we lived at home or been on a holiday – they took us to the Lake District which was so much fun, camping out and having more relaxed time as a family – we both loved that.”

When Chloe turned 18, the girls moved into a supported lodgings placement after special permission was granted for Amber to stay with Chloe.

Ann, who they live with, provides board and lodgings alongside support to prepare the girls for independence.

Durham County Council’s strategic manager for looked after children, Karen Robb, says: “It can be very hard to find foster carers who are willing to take brothers and sisters, especially when they are teenagers, but when you hear from girls like Chloe and Amber, it brings home why it is so important for us to keep brothers and sisters together whenever we can.

“While having two or more brothers and sisters may seem like harder work, in reality, the children are often a support for each other.

“When children have lived through traumatic or difficult situations at home, they often develop such a strong bond - it’s a survival mechanism.

“Being able to stay with the brothers and sisters you love and trust can be of enormous value to a child, helping them to cope and adjust to what can be an exceptionally difficult time in their lives.”

The council’s fostering team holds regular drop-in information events for people who are thinking about fostering. It gives the opportunity to ask any questions over a cup of tea or coffee, meet current foster carers and find out more about fostering.

Foster Care Fortnight finished on Sunday, but more information is available from the council’s fostering team on 03000 269 400 or visit to find out more.