A report by The Family Rights Group entitled ‘What happens to siblings in the care system?’ has published that half of siblings placed in local authority care are not placed together, despite their research suggesting keeping siblings together is conducive to the success of their placements.
Six questions were asked of the 152 English Local Authorities in August 2014 to establish the nature of the placements of siblings. From the authorities that replied on the number of sibling groups, they have established that 3,947 groups were placed together. This figure translates to 50.5% of sibling groups being placed together and 49.5% separated.
The report also found 37% of children in care who have at least one other sibling in care are living with none of their siblings. The effect this has on the separated children is documented with one young person commenting, ‘when your sibling is taken away from you, it takes away your heart’. However, FRG clearly recognise that they were not able to obtain detailed information on the reasons behind this trend and report that a high proportion of sibling groups were in a kinship foster placement.
FRG have expressed in their range of recommendations that children should be placed with their siblings unless it is contrary to the individual child’s welfare. If this is not possible then the relationship between the siblings should be encouraged and nurtured in order for the separated children to benefit from the many advantages of a sibling relationship.
Read the full report Siblings in care final report – January 2015 (file in PDF format will be downloaded).