What is known about the placement and outcomes of siblings in foster care? An international literature review
By: Sarah Meakings, Judy Sebba and Nikki Luke
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Read Key Messages and Call to Action: What is known about the placement and outcomes of siblings in foster care?
The findings from this review support the statutory regulations and guidance that requires local authorities to place siblings who enter care together where possible, subject to welfare considerations of the children.
However, in a significant minority of cases, this is not happening in practice. To meet this requirement, the research sets out the following key messages:
- Involve young people more in placement decisions. Involving young people in their placement decision leads to better outcomes and this applies equally to sibling group placements.
- Recruit foster carers who are able and willing to foster sibling groups, such as those with greater housing capacity, and those with more experience in caring for multiple children with a range of needs. Foster carers should help facilitate contact between siblings placed apart where appropriate.
- Identify incentives for foster carers to take sibling groups. Consider financial benefits, training and adequate support.
- To help inform service planning, consider the developing body of evidence around the impact of intervention programmes designed to support siblings in foster care. The intervention studies in this review show promising early findings in relation to the greater frequency of sibling co-placements, but also improved quality of the sibling relationship for children in foster care.
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