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Third of Foster Children are Separated From Siblings

Third of Foster Children are Separated From Siblings

According to research by the Action for Children, a third of children taken into care in the past year were separated from their brothers and sisters.

Figures obtained by the charity through a Freedom of Information request showed that across 159 councils in the UK which provided results, 11,082 children with siblings were placed in care between April last year and March. Of these, around 3,598 youngsters, or 32%, were split up from their brothers and sisters.

The figures for the year to March 2014, indicate that local authorities are struggling to find enough suitable foster carers to deal with a spike in the number of children being removed from their parents in the wake of recent scandals such as the Baby P tragedy.

Action for Children also said that more than half the children surveyed said they felt angry and upset by the separation.

Separating siblings in foster care has an emotional impact

The trend in splitting siblings is worrying as it is widely believed that is beneficial for children who are put into care to remain with siblings. Action for Children warns that splits can ignite feelings of loss and abandonment which can affect emotional and mental health. They increase the risk of unstable foster placements and poor performance at school, as well as further problems in adulthood, such as difficulty finding a job, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness or criminal activity.

“For many children, being taken into care can be a confusing and upsetting time; add the distress of being split up from your brother or sister into the mix and the impact will last a lifetime,” Action for Children’s chief executive, Sir Tony Hawkhead comments.

A guide to care proceedings for children

More foster carers needed

Sir Tony also called for more people — especially parents whose children had left home — to consider fostering. “By arming ourselves with a pool of dedicated people who can provide a loving and caring home to groups of children we will avoid breaking more young hearts in the future,” he said.

A spokesperson for the British Association of Social Workers was unsurprised by the findings. “Social workers report that council fostering teams are so stretched that there is an emphasis on placing children within their own local authority, rather than with external providers who may be best placed to support a larger sibling group but who may cost more,” she states.

At IBB Solicitors, we deal with child welfare cases, domestic abuse, private children law and cases relating to disagreements between family members, such as residence or contact issues.

Our specialist child welfare solicitors are trained to deal with all aspects of the Children Act 1989 and Adoption and Children Act 2002, and have extensive experience in representing children either directly or through a Children’s Guardian. We also represent family members in Care and Adoption proceedings, particularly where Social Services or Child Protection Officers are involved.

Our childcare team recognise that cases need to be treated with care and compassion to minimise the distress that can be caused to vulnerable children.

If a local authority has issued care proceedings in relation to your children you are entitled to free legal advice. If your finances are limited you may also qualify for Legal Aid. Find out more by going to our legal aid solicitors page. If your family is undergoing a difficult child custody case, or you need representation for Care and Adoption proceedings, we can help. Contact us in confidence on 01895 207857, or email us at childcare@ibblaw.co.uk.