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Research & Policy Updates

RPUs provide the latest information on policy developments, consultations and key research reports, along with links to the original resources. You need to be a member of RiP to access full RPUs, have a website account and be logged in – if you don’t have an account you can create one here.

Latest Issue:

RPU 195 June 2017

The research articles this month explore sibling placement.

Professionals responsible for developing care plans must make difficult decisions about placing siblings together or apart. Until recently, there has been little research to support this aspect of decision making. Additionally, many studies do not provide a clear definition of a ‘sibling’ and rarely are children’s own definitions used.

However, evidence shows that being placed with siblings can be a protective factor for the wellbeing of Looked After Children (LAC) and placement stability, and this is emphasised in Jones’ review of the international literature on sibling relationships in adoptive and fostering families. Stevenson provides some insight into the reasons for this in her research into the meaning of sibling relationships to youth in foster care. Despite this, the Family Rights Group report that in August 2014 only half of sibling groups in English local authority care are all placed together.

Through exploring peer violence in foster care, the final article summarised here reminds us of the possibility of negative sibling relationships. Ultimately, the evidence highlights that ‘the presumption should be that it is in the interests of siblings to be placed together unless it is contrary to an individual child’s welfare needs’ (Ashley and Roth, 2015), and the need to nurture positive sibling relationships where these are in the best interests of children.

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