The Independent Care Review helped to highlight the importance of brothers and sisters maintaining relationships whether or not they are living together – and the extent to which, for many children in Scotland, this has not been happening. Siblings Reunited (STAR) stands out as an example of a project that has helped many children separated in care stay in touch and have positive time together. Set up in 2013, STAR is the only specialist service in Scotland offering support with family time together for brothers and sisters.
AFKA Scotland and STAR have come together with other organisations in Stand Up For Siblings (SUFS), a collaboration formed in 2017 between partner organisations to shape and influence policy, practice, knowledge and service development based on research in Scotland. This group has been instrumental in driving forward new legislation and regulation in relation to Brothers and Sisters in Scotland.
In October 2021, STAR and AFKA were successful in securing funding from The Promise Partnership to conduct an evidence-based process evaluation of STAR. The aims of the evaluation were to: provide learning for STAR’s future development; articulate a STAR model to guide those looking to develop similar services; and, identify key learning for better supporting relationships between brothers and sisters separated in care. The evaluation took place between February 2022 and February 2023, during which time the research team spoke to a range of stakeholders including children and young people, caregivers, social workers, and volunteers.
Findings from the evaluation have been published in the form of a full report, four briefings for caregivers, volunteers, professionals, and managers and policy-makers, and a research summary for children and young people. Links to all of these can be found below. For further information about the evaluation please contact the principal researcher for the project, Mark Hardy.