The Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP, has announced that there are plans to improve the law for sisters and brothers who are in the care system. The law is to be strengthened to keep sisters and brothers who are placed in local authority care together, when it is in their best interests to do so.
This announcement was made at an event organised by Stand Up For Siblings, which is a collaboration between a number of child welfare, children’s rights, legal organisations and academics, including Who Cares? Scotland.
Reacting to the announcement, Kevin Browne MacLeod, Director for Care Experienced Membership at Who Cares? Scotland said:
“Our members have talked to us about their sisters and brothers being their rock, their biggest support and their number one priority before going into care. They have talked to us about how shocked and sad they have been when, upon being taken into care, they were separated.
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has made it clear that it considers deprivation of contact between sisters and brothers to be abusive. We know that the broken bonds between brothers and sisters can take a long time to repair. We have members in their forties and fifties who tell us they are still working on their relationships.
We joined the Stand Up For Siblings Coalition because this practice has to stop. Separating brothers and sisters when they are taken into care and failing to maintain the connection between them, for no reason other than resource, has to stop. Some young people we know are seeing their brothers and sisters for only twelve hours per year. We welcome this announcement from the Minister and will be keeping a close eye on how it becomes reality.”