Research Briefing: Supporting Sibling Relationships of Children in Permanent Fostering and Adoptive Families

National IRO Managers Partnership

Key findings

  • Sibling networks of looked-after and accommodated children can be large, diverse in age and spread over multiple households and care types (kinship, foster, residential care and adoption). This creates challenges in terms of supporting sibling relationships.
  • Three categories of biological sibling emerged from the analysis of case files: familiar, stranger and undocumented siblings. Seventy-six familiar siblings and 78 stranger siblings of the 50 children included in the study were identified. Numbers of undocumented siblings could not be estimated.
  • Children who were accommodated and subsequently placed permanently away from their birth parents experienced a high degree of estrangement from siblings. Fifty-eight percent of these children had biological siblings who were ‘stranger’ siblings and 68% of children were living apart from at least one of their ‘familiar’ biological…

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