Foster Care for Siblings

sibling sisters

Two sisters were ages one and seven when they were taken from their home last summer. Their social worker came to the hard conclusion that it just wasn’t safe there for them anymore. That’s how they found themselves, one hot Friday afternoon, in a Department of Children’s Services office, while a social worker made many phone calls, searching for a place for them to stay that night.

While they waited, anxious, sad and scared, and not really understanding what was happening, the big sister, Isabel, worked hard to keep the baby, Abby, calm, holding her, playing games with her and singing songs.

As the social worker called around, she became worried. Agency after agency told her that it could place only one child in a home, and that the sisters would probably have to be split up. She was determined to keep them together—she knew they needed each other.

Finally, she reached MaryLuz Arling at Plummer Foster Care. MaryLuz thought she knew a family who would take the girls. She called Greg and Molly, experienced foster parents with two teenage daughters of their own.

When they answered the call from MaryLuz, they understood the urgency of the situation. After thinking for a minute, they agreed to take both girls.

They still had a crib in their house from an earlier placement, but no bed for Isabel. But that wasn’t a problem! While the social worker got the children ready, Greg and Molly zipped out to Target and bought a toddler bed. By the time the girls arrived at 7 p.m., the bed was assembled and made, and a pizza dinner was waiting for them. Greg and Molly’s older daughters showed the little ones around and played a few games with them before it was time for bed. The foster parents knew how important it was to make the kids feel welcome from the beginning.

Over the next several months, the girls found a cozy home with the family. Greg and Molly settled them into their family routine, while reaching out to the girls’ relatives so they could stay in touch while Isabel and Abby remained in foster care. Because Greg and Molly both work part-time, they were able to divide the girls’ care between them.

During the girls’ stay, they had many wonderful new experiences: Isabel went sledding for the first time and she helped to carve the Thanksgiving turkey. Abby learned many new words, started to walk and to eat more solid foods. Greg and Molly’s loving care and attention helped the girls to achieve these important milestones, which the foster parents documented with photos, sending the pictures to the girls’ birth family so they could share these special moments as well.

By the winter, the Plummer Foster Care team, the Department of Children and Families, and Greg and Molly had worked together to reconnect the girls with their birth family. They arranged a permanent home for Isabel and Abby – with their own grandparents! Greg and Molly felt happy that they were able to keep Isabel and Abby together during a difficult time in the girls’ lives. They have remained connected to the girls and their birth family.

Unfortunately, these happy endings don’t happen for all children. In the past year, Plummer Foster Care received over 200 requests for placements that it could not fulfill. There is a dire shortage of available foster parents in northeastern Massachusetts—and other children, not as lucky as these two sisters, are suffering. If you would like to find out more about how to help—how you could become a foster parent and change a child’s life—please contact us at 978-935-9555 or