A pilot initiative is underway to map the relationships of siblings.

The map is a visual aid to help social workers prepare reports for Children’s Hearings or to help panel members make more informed decisions in Hearings about siblings.

The pilot has been launched in four Local Authority areas – Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Stirling and West Lothian.

Hazel Oliver, Area Support and Improvement Partnership from Children’s Hearings Scotland, is leading the pilot, along with support from social work, SCRA and Stand Up For Siblings.

Hazel explained: “We know how critical sibling and some sibling-like relationships are to children and young people in care. With the introduction of the new legislation and the imperative to make improvements in this area, we wanted to try something different.

“We are developing a visual template which allows social workers or panel members to fill in. It includes the names and ages of siblings (full and half biological siblings) the households in which these siblings usually reside. Information such as forms of contact between siblings can also be added to the map.”

The completed map is then included with panel papers, so children, young people and relevant persons get to see them, as well as the panel members.

Initial responses to the visual map have been extremely positive.

Hazel added: “People seem to find a visual aid like this really beneficial.”

The pilot is just in its infancy, but it will be evaluated in a few months time.

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