A new multi-agency partnership ‘Stand Up For Siblings’ is being launched today (Friday 9 March 2018) in Glasgow, championing the improvement of contact between siblings in the care system.
We have partnered with a number of other child welfare, children’s rights and legal organisations and academics within Scotland, including the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, Clan Childlaw, Who Cares? Scotland and the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration.
The drive kicks off with an event at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, at the University of Strathclyde, which will look at children’s rights and focus on practical and concrete changes that can be made at a practice level to improve contact between brothers and sisters in care.
Central to the event will be hearing the voices of young people from The Fostering Network and Who Cares? Scotland about their experiences of sibling contact. Speakers also include Fiona Duncan, Chair of the Independent Care Review and Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.
The impetus for Stand Up For Siblings was a piece of research which was published last year by Dr Christine Jones from the University of Strathclyde and Dr Gillian Henderson from the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration on Supporting Sibling Relationships of Children in Permanent Foster and Adoptive Families.
Dr Christine Jones, one of the founders of Stand Up for Siblings, said: “We know that children who face adversity greatly value their relationships with siblings. Yet for care experienced children and young people these relationships often become disrupted.
“We believe more can be done to protect the rights and promote the wellbeing of brothers and sisters in such circumstances and we are working together to influence the law, policy and practice around this issue.”
Aileen Nicol, Head of Improving Protection and Permanence at CELCIS, commented: “We are in full support for Stand Up for Siblings as we recognise this is a really important issue for children and young people. Relationships with brothers and sisters are so precious. We need to do everything we can to ensure that, where possible, they can stay together. When this cannot happen, the best contact arrangements need to be in place.
“There is some great work being done but we recognise there is much more to do. Stand Up for Siblings is a wonderful opportunity for us to work together to make lasting improvements in the lives of children and young people.”
A new website has been developed for anyone with an interest in sibling relationships and looked after and care experienced young people. Supporters will also be able to make a pledge in support of Stand Up for Siblings. You can also follow the discussion on twitter using: #StandUpForSiblings.