On Tuesday 21 January, SUFS partners Who Cares? Scotland (WC?S) and CELCIS gave evidence the Justice Committee on the Children (Scotland) Bill, speaking to the provisions in the Bill and the Family Justice Modernisation Strategy in relation to sibling relationships. Full comments from SUFS on these provisions can be found in the joint written response to the committee here.
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive of WC?S spoke alongside OisÍn King, Care Experienced Member of WC?S. They highlighted the current reality of separation and loss of relationships for many brothers and sisters in care. OisÍn shared powerful testimony about his own life in care and his experience being separated from his youngest sister, including how it felt to be supervised during ‘contact’ sessions with her where “love was crowded out by process”.
Dr. Louise Hill from CELCIS also gave evidence, sharing academic expertise on practice relating to maintaining children’s relationships, as well as highlighting the practice of the STAR project, the Lifelong Links project and the important work of family group decision making where the relationships that matter to children and young people are at the heart and often include brothers and sisters. Dr. Hill pointed to the work of the SUFS partnership and shared that a children’s rights approach must underpin how we understand and maintain these relationships.
Key points were made by both organisations throughout the session about the importance of brother and sister relationships and the importance of keeping them together when being taken into care. During the session, it was highlighted that resources should never be the boundary to supporting brother and sister relationships. And that when looking to discover what relationships are important to a child or young person to always start with them to find out where the already established, secure and loving relationships are.
You can watch the full committee session on parliament TV.