Exciting work is underway in West Dunbartonshire to Keep The Promise. Ailsa Dinwoodie, The Promise Lead Officer tells us more…
In West Dunbartonshire in March 2023 we were keeping 38% of our children and young people with all of their brothers and sisters in care. 27% of our children and young people were with 1, but not all of their brothers and sisters. 35% were separated from all of their brothers and sisters. We are significantly better at keeping brothers and sisters together within kinship care, however this is also where we see the highest number of children separated.
68% of respondents to our Brothers and Sisters survey about time together reported that there was no formal plan in place to support their time together with brothers and sisters out-with contact with their wider family.
Actions to consider within this report span data, local policy and protocols, supporting and promoting creative practice and quality assurance. Having a Brothers and Sisters Charter, led by our care experienced children and young people, making sure everyone is clear on how we value sibling relationships and our commitment to supporting and nurturing these relationships. Ensuring we have a mechanism for routine data collection around the separation of brothers and sisters is essential for monitoring our progress.
This work has been carried out as part of the Keeping the Promise Working Group on Brothers and Sisters, which aims to understand how well we are doing at keeping brothers and sisters together currently, the factors impacting upon separation, and how well we are doing at keeping connections between siblings when they are separated. This will support future proofing of our services, building capacity and culture change within systems to ensure relationships between brothers and sisters and valued and protected. The data gathering began in March 2023 and this report was written in July 2023 and finalised in January 2024.
Thank you to Ailsa and West Dunbartonshire for sharing their story. We look forward to hearing how it develops.