Four northern foster carers have banded together to give four siblings a Christmas homecoming to remember.

Between them, specialist reunification foster carers Danielle, Deb, Lydia and Tania cared for two brothers and two sisters when they were placed in family-based care.

The households worked closely to strengthen the sibling bond and ensure they saw each other at least weekly.

All aged under four, the brothers and sisters are now living together after recently being reunified with family interstate, just in time for Christmas.

For the dedicated Centacare foster carers, knowing that the children are once more under the same roof is the best gift of all.

Danielle of Craigmore, cared for the youngest sibling, a boy, aged one.

“It’s a bit bitter sweet, but it was lovely to see him back with his siblings and family - that’s just the best outcome, so I can’t really ask for anything more at Christmas,’’ she said.

“As much as it’s upsetting for my family for him to go, that’s what we’re in this for – to see them go home or be with their brothers and sisters.’’

Deb has been fostering for seven years and cared for the boy’s older sister, aged two.

“We were all hoping they would be reunified before Christmas,’’ she said.

“As foster carers, we are here to play a part. While we have them, we love and care for them, and then we are happy that they move on, either to their parents or extended family.

“This was extra special though because they are all together.”

The majority of Centacare’s current foster care referrals are for sibling groups of two to four children.

Promoting Centacare’s “village” concept of foster care, the carers, who all live within suburbs of  one another, ensured the siblings’ maintained regular contact through Friday play dates.

The village approach aims to match carers who are related, close friends or live nearby, to ensure children keep in touch.

“Everything we do in the reunification space works towards getting children home. That’s what the carers want too, it’s their passion and the reason they are in this role,’’ said Amalie Mannik, Manager, Centacare Foster Care.

“It’s quite exciting when that happens at this time of year because you know they are going to  spend that special day with the people they should be with if it’s safe to do so.’’

Department for Child Protection Acting Chief Executive Fiona Ward said keeping siblings together, wherever safe and possible, was an important part of children and young people  developing a sense of identity and feeling connected.

“We know not all carers are in a position to care for three or four children, so this is a great example where the individual carers have come together to ensure the siblings continue to have that special connection and bond with each other,” said Fiona.

“We would encourage any families, extended families, or friendship groups, to consider whether they might be able to take on the care of a sibling group and keep those children together.

“There are currently a number of sibling groups living in non-family based care who would benefit from being in a family-based environment.”

For more information about becoming a foster carer, please call 1300 2 FOSTER (367 837) or visit foster https://fostercare.sa.gov.au/