A new multi-agency partnership ‘Stand Up For Siblings’ is being launched today Friday 9 March.
Stand Up For Siblings is a collaboration between a number of child welfare, children’s rights and legal organisations and academics within Scotland including Clan Childlaw, Who Cares? Scotland, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, the University of Strathclyde and CELCIS.
The drive kicks off with an event at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute in Glasgow 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.
The event will also give partners the opportunity to develop a shared understanding of sibling separation and contact, the impact on looked after children and young people and potential solutions.
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 SCRA. A research briefing on ‘Supporting Sibling Relationships of Children in Permanent Foster and Adoptive Families’ is available to view here.
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.
“We created Stand Up For Siblings as we believe that if we all work together, we can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people, plus ensure that they receive the right support and contact with their brothers and sisters.”
At the event delegates will be asked to pledge their support to Stand Up for Siblings and give a commitment to what they and/or their organisation can do to help.
Supporters will also be able to pledge online as at the launch event, a new online resource will be unveiled www.standupforsiblings.co.uk. The website has been created for anyone with an interest in sibling relationships of looked after and care experienced children and young people. There are dedicated sections on the website for young people and for professionals.