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From Teacher to Foster Carer: Fostering Siblings with Loretta Coleman

From teacher to foster carer; fostering siblings with Loretta Coleman

Loretta wishes she had started fostering earlier.

Watch our filmed interview with Loretta below, as she discusses her fostering journey.

Although Loretta had always wanted to be a foster carer, it wasn’t until she was made redundant from her teaching career that she took the plunge. Now she just wishes she had begun sooner.

After Loretta left teaching, she took the opportunity to move from Dorset to North Devon, where she could be closer to her daughter. Her new home was fortunate enough to have not one but two spare rooms; Blue Sky asked if Loretta had considered fostering siblings rather than just fostering a child on their own.

Fostering Siblings

Loretta didn’t hesitate - particularly when she thought how many siblings have to be separated because there are not enough foster carers with more than one room. An estimated 37% of children with a sibling – that is 20,000 children - are separated when placed in care.* She now has a boy and a girl, who first came to her aged 7 and 9, and who are on a permanent mainstream placement.

Blue Sky Fostering recognises that fostering is usually a wider family decision, which is why we aim to include the wider family at events such as the Family Fun Day. We also know how important it is to be recognised and supported, which is why we run events and support aimed towards foster carers children who are already part of the household. The role of a foster carer is very rarely held by simply one person, even for single foster carers. Although Loretta is a single foster carer, her adult children form an important wider support network.

Fostering as a single foster carer

Although Loretta’s children no longer live at home, she consulted them as a family decision. Her son responded by saying, ‘Mum why would we not want some children to have the upbringing that we had?’. Her children alongside Loretta have embraced the siblings into the family. They lend support: Loretta’s daughter often watches one sibling while Loretta takes the other to an after-school club for instance, and when Loretta now visits her son in Bristol, their time is based around activities that they know the children will love. As such, the whole family’s life has been enriched by the presence of the siblings.

I look back now and wish that I could have been fostering for a longer time just to see the difference. Not just the difference I’m making to the children, but it’s the difference that they make to our lives.

Making the most of support

Loretta makes the most of the support offered by Blue Sky, and represents the foster carers as the Carer Connect lead. Carer Connect offers foster carers a chance to meet informally and do something nice together, for support and community. She is also involved with FAB – the fostering advisory board – which is an opportunity for Blue Sky foster carers to feedback on what is working, or what changes they would like us to improve.

Since fostering the siblings Loretta hasn’t looked back:

I did worry about moving away from full-time work to having children, and was this going to fulfil my life – but oh my gosh – wow, it’s been above and beyond, definitely.

*Data from Children's Commissioner: Siblings in Care, January 2023


Fostering stories


  • Foster Carer
  • In person
  • Siblings
  • Transferring
  • Support
  • Birth child(ren)

Date published

26 June 2024

From teacher to foster carer; fostering siblings with Loretta Coleman

Watch Loretta's Interview

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