The relationship you have with your brother or sister (sibling) is likely to be one of the most long lasting relationships you experience during your lifetime since in all probability, you will each outlive your parents. Many people who have siblings will acknowledge the strength of that relationship, and its enduring quality, even though siblings of course fall out on occasions!
It is therefore most disturbing to read the most recent report regarding siblings entering the care system, who are often separated for a variety of reasons. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43795367. The report follows a Freedom of Information request by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme which revealed that more than 5,000 siblings have been separated.
This may be as basic as that there is simply not a placement large enough to take all of the siblings. Sometimes however children have specific and competing needs, which means that they need to be placed apart from their sibling, so that those needs can be properly addressed.
Within the context of care proceedings, separation of siblings is considered an extremely serious matter and only to be undertaken following very careful consideration.
The Local Authority has a statutory duty to promote contact between “looked after” child (i.e. a child in the care system) and his or her family, including sibling and half siblings.
In cases where children cannot return home and, for whatever reason, cannot be placed together in an alternate placement, then consideration is usually given to the possibility of on-going sibling contact. This can be a vital link to maintaining the child’s identity, and also a means to reassure the child that his or her siblings are being cared for appropriately.
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