Kate Richardson and Anne Begbie’s roles within the council are a good match with the philosophy and drivers of the Stand Up For Siblings network.

Kate is the lead practitioner for overseeing all transitions for children from interim foster care into permanent placements across Edinburgh and is based within the Family Based Care Team.

Anne is based within the Family Group Decision Making Team and is the lead coordinator for the Lifelong Links service. Lifelong Links is about working with young people in the care system and helping them identify and promote connections within their family network; building connections which will help young people as they move through their adult years.

Kate became an active member of SUFS following the official launch of the group and the website in March 2018. Anne joined later in 2018 and both of us have attended regular meetings to discuss how best to progress formal and informal ways to promote sibling relationships and agree on action points. Kate submitted City of Edinburgh Council’s response to consultation on review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and creation of a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy. Focusing particularly on contact and sibling issues.

In September 2018, Kate represented CEC at a Conference run by CorumBaaf which also launched the new text by Shelagh Beckett; ‘Beyond Together or Apart: Planning for, assessing and placing sibling groups.’ Kate have since been asked by CoramBaaf to write a book review for their Adoption and Fostering journal. Each Locality now has a copy of this book for practitioners to use on a day to day basis when considering sibling relationships.

Kate has delivered a presentation and held discussions with Registration and Permanence Panel members, specifically asking them to think more broadly about placing children together when considering permanence, not accepting ‘together or apart’ assessments which are not thorough or objective. This is going to be followed up with more focussed workshops with Panel Chairs and ADMs.

Kate has also given a presentation at an AFA seminar in Glasgow, focussing on Transitions, where she highlighted SUFS and the need to ensure attention is paid to the needs of siblings when considering long term care away from home.

Together, Anne and Kate, along with other colleagues from SUFS, participated in the recent conference run by Clan Childlaw and S.T.A.R. where we looked at the progress made over the past year and were delighted to have MSP Maree Todd announce that Scottish Government will be looking to make changes to current Duties placed on Local Authorities with regard to meeting the needs of siblings.

Anne and Kate are going out regularly to all four CEC Localities to meet with Children and Families Practice Teams to promote SUFS and request wider, creative thinking and more positive approaches to keeping siblings together, and talk about maintaining Life-Long Links for children. Taking the copy of ‘Beyond Together or Apart’ to encourage workers to read the text and make use of the assessment frameworks alongside; leaflets and information from Lifelong Links and STAR.

We are aiming for these sessions to be discussion based; providing an informal breakfast drop-in where practitioners can ask questions and seek advice and guidance on specific cases.

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