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What is known about the placement and outcomes of siblings in foster care?

An international literature review

The Children and Young Persons Act (2008) places a duty on Local Authorities to accommodate siblings together in care, so far as is reasonably practicable and subject to welfare considerations. Existing reviews of the evidence support the coplacement of siblings in care, unless there is a justifiable, child-centred reason for separation. Five years ago, an Ofsted (2012) survey in England of more than 2000 looked after children found that nearly two thirds (63%) of the youngsters had at least one sibling also in care, yet 71% of these children were not in the same placement as all their brothers and/or sisters. More recently (Ofsted, 2015), the statistics for England show that not only has the percentage of those placed together increased, but the percentage assessed as needing to be placed separately has also increased.

This review of the international research examines what is known about the placement of siblings in foster care.

It synthesises the findings from studies that have examined factors associated with the decision to place children together with, or apart from siblings, and considers the evidence on a range of outcomes for joint or separate foster placements.