FtSE Member News: 'End presumptions that siblings in care should be kept together, says Narey' - TACT responds
Martin Narey has today argued that rather than presuming that brothers and sisters in care should be kept together, there should be more flexibility in separating them, if it is in the best interests of the children involved.
TACT is not convinced that proposals to split up sibling groups for adoption will reduce perceived delays. The presumption will rightly remain that an attempt should be made to keep siblings together. If a later decision is made to split them up then it will then take additional time to attempt to match with new families. Other options, such as focussing adoption recruitment on families able to take sibling groups, or public sector assistance with funding to allow home improvement or extensions would also help if there are difficulties in finding families for siblings.
Ultimately, we feel that these proposals once again reflect the Government's belief that adoption should be proritised over other care options. Long term fostering, for example, can be just as effective in helping young people in care achieve their potential. If a long term foster placement avoids the need to separate siblings then it should be considered in preference to adoption.
Separation from siblings, especially for older children, will be extremely traumatic for children who have already experienced separation from their birth families. It should be avoided if possible. TACT's "Aspirations" research shows that nearly 90 percent of our own young people described their relationship with their brothers or sisters as "very important". This is hardly surprising as our relationships with our siblings are likely to be the only life long relationships we have.
If there are difficulties between siblings, skilled theraputic support needs to be available to resolve relationship issues at an early point when children are first separated from parents as this may reduce the need to separate them at a later point.
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