Response to Scottish Government plans to strengthen the law regarding siblings in care

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The Fostering Network warmly welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Children and Young People in Scotland, Maree Todd MSP, that there are plans to strengthen the law in relation to keeping brothers and sisters together when they are placed in care when it is in their interest to do so. The changes will also mean that there will be the same duty on local authorities to promote contact between brothers and sisters in care as they have to promote contact with parents.

Sara Lurie, director of The Fostering Network in Scotland, said: 'Coming into care can be extremely scary and traumatic for children and young people, and being separated from brothers and sisters can compound this. We are delighted, therefore, that the Scottish Government is bolstering the law so that placing brothers and sisters together, when they come into care, is given a higher priority than is currently the case. We are especially pleased to see recognition of the importance of brothers and sisters who are not able to live together being able to keep in touch. We know these relationships are vital to the wellbeing of children in care.

‘We would encourage the Scottish Government to collect data to find out how many siblings in care are not living together as this will enable us to have a better sense of the scale of the problem and to consider how best to actively promote those relationships.

‘Of course, one of the practical challenges is finding foster families who are able to look after sibling groups – and we would encourage anyone who thinks they might have the relevant skills, as well as the desire, to offer a home to brothers and sisters to get in touch with their local fostering service.’