Supporting Sibling Relationships of Children in Permanent Fostering and Adoptive Families

Jones, Christine and Henderson, Gillian (2017) Supporting Sibling Relationships of Children in Permanent Fostering and Adoptive Families. [Report]

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    Abstract

    Around 95,000 children were in the care of local authorities in the UK in 2016, most often as a result of traumatic childhood experiences such as abuse and neglect. There is a presumption within the laws of the UK that looked after and accommodated children will be placed with siblings whenever practicable and in the best interests of the child. In practice, however, separation from siblings is a common experience. Previous research has estimated that 70-80% of accommodated children have siblings also in care and around 70% of these experience separation. Where children are placed separately from siblings, they typically express a strong desire to stay in contact with brothers and sisters. Contact arrangements vary in type, frequency, quality and availability of support and sibling contact tends to become less frequent over time. Outcome studies have indicated that separation of siblings is associated with increased placement disruption, poorer child well-being and reduced likelihood of permanence. This study focused on looked-after and accommodated children who were placed permanently away from home and the siblings of these children.