Siblings in Kinship Care – keeping families together and connected

Siblings in Kinship Care – keeping families together and connected

As part of Kinship Care Week next month, tickets are now available for a free webinar on siblings in Kinship care. Taking place on Wednesday 17 March, the session is aimed at practitioners who undertake assessments and support Kinship carers and the children they care for.

With a focus on assessing and supporting older siblings caring for younger siblings in Kinship care, considering the importance of the sibling relationship throughout life, and to explore ways in which processes and procedures ensure that children’s rights to stay connected to family are being promoted and protected in kinship care.

The two hour session includes inputs from Christine Jones and Kate Richardson from Stand Up For Siblings. The webinar will run from 1-3pm. Find out more here.

There’s lots more events taking place during Kinship Care Week which runs from 15 to 20 March. You can view all the events here.

Siblings Reunited podcast

Siblings Reunited podcast

STAR, Siblings Reunited has featured in a new podcast. Karen Morrison from the Fife-based charity appears on the podcast ‘Down the Lane’. In the 12 minute broadcast she talks about the work of the project and the importance of keeping siblings together. You can tune in here.

 

Date set for new laws on siblings in care to take effect

Date set for new laws on siblings in care to take effect

Stand Up for Siblings is really pleased to see there is now a date for the new laws on brothers and sisters in care that were recently agreed by the Scottish Parliament.

The new measures will apply from 26th July 2021. These are:

  • a duty on local authorities to promote contact between looked after children and siblings (section 13 of the Children (Scotland) Act 2020)
  • a duty on children’s hearings duty to consider contact when making etc. compulsory supervision orders (section 14 of the Act)
  • rights for siblings to participate in children’s hearings (section 25 of the Act)

The Regulations setting the date are here.

Making memories at Christmas

Making memories at Christmas

Brothers and sisters who are separated get the chance to celebrate Christmas together thanks to STAR, Siblings Reunited.

Throughout December the Fife-based charity, throws open its doors for an almost daily festive celebration for brothers and sisters.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are packed into their two hour visit giving them a chance to make lasting memories of their time together.

They arrive wearing their Christmas jumpers and the first part is set out like the build up to Christmas where they make cards and tree decorations. From arrival, photos are being taken and then printed off into a card that everyone can take away from the day.

They then move on to gingerbread men baking or decorating for the younger ones and then get to open the chocolate advent calendar.

Over hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows one of the older children then reads the Night Before Christmas.

Then it is Christmas Day and the celebrations really begin! There’s a present for everyone under the tree and they enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

Then they head to the BBQ pit where they snuggle up on the bean bags and watch their favourite festive film.

Karen Morrison from STAR, Siblings Reunited explained: “It is all about making memories. It’s the simple things like watching a movie together or pulling crackers over the table. Some of the things that we take for granted.

“We have some groups where this is their third Christmas celebration here. We try to make it as special as possible for everyone who comes here. They go away happy, but shattered too!”

COVID-19 has impacted on Christmas for some of the groups as several are self-isolating or their carers have health conditions and there is the issue of travelling from different tiers.

Karen said: “It is a shame that some brothers and sisters will miss out on their visit here. It has been a tough year, but we look forward to welcoming them back in the new year.”

So what does Christmas hold for Karen? She said: “I’ve got all the family here, so it won’t be restful, but we are lucky to all be together.”

 

Siblings Webinar Event marking Adoption Week

Siblings Webinar Event marking Adoption Week

A Siblings Webinar Event on Tuesday 17 November was one of the highlights of Adoption Week Scotland 2020 as it promoted one of the three main themes – Siblings. You can find out more here. 

The focus of the event was to talk about the importance of keeping siblings together when brought into the care of the Local Authority and for the long term regardless whether permanence is with birth family, kinship or away from home. Stressing the importance of keeping sibling relationships central to all children’s plans. Where children could not be placed with their brothers and sisters, the emphasis was placed on promoting and maintaining their relationships.

It was hoped that the event would be attended by those people working to secure permanence for children, those caring for children away from home and to those thinking about becoming permanent carers, whether this be through fostering or adoption. 76 people attended the online event, a substantial number of whom were current or prospective carers.

The event was chaired by Kate Richardson, manager/practitioner of Scotland’s Adoption Register and long-time member of SUFS. Kate was joined by colleagues in SUFS; Dr Christine Jones Strathclyde University – who talked about the research and the resulting outcomes, Anne Begbie City of Edinburgh Council who talked about Lifelong Links and shared the lived experiences of young people, Karen Morrison from STAR Siblings Reunited, who talked about STAR’s focus on bringing brothers and sisters together for family time and Alison Parkinson from Adoption UK Scotland, who joined Chris and Karen in drawing on their experiences of caring for their children, all of whom were adopted as sibling groups.

There was great engagement from those in attendance who contributed to a Q&A for the second half of the evening. It was good to hear from prospective and current adopters from across Scotland raising issues/challenges and seeking guidance about sibling relationships.

 

 

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