The All Party Parliamentary group is a national meeting for all young people in care and care leavers, to meet cross party MP’s . There were young people and professionals from all over the UK. The meetings happen on a quarterly basis and have a different topic for discussion. The agenda for this meeting was “Children in Care/Care Leavers should be supported to have meaningful and safe contact with siblings, if they want to?”
Key points of discussion were:
- 1/3 of children in care have been separated by brothers and sisters
- Social workers are keeping siblings together but this is more difficult in large groups
- Evidence suggests that young people are happier and healthier if in contact with siblings
- Only 1% of young people in residential care are placed together
- Social services need to be aware that after a visit with a sibling, this can be difficult for the young people and the foster carers manage this
- More understanding of what the young person wants with contact
- Different counties are not sharing information if siblings are placed out of county
- Provide better contact arrangements
- Adoption seems to be a barrier
- Adoptive parents won’t allow contact
- Social services don’t see siblings contact as a priority and don’t seem to encourage this
- Social services care should not push for contact and should listen to the voice of the young person
- Local authorities should pay for young person to see their siblings, particularly on travel
- More “after care”
- Consistency in contact is needed and be right for both young people
- Better communication in social care amongst teams/workers
- Letter box contact- There is some contact through letters to siblings
- Local authorities are under staff to support contact
Young people’s thoughts of the day:
- I heard from other young people about their experiences , that I might not have been aware of.
- I enjoyed the opportunity of seeing a debate in the House of Commons about steel in Scotland.
- Feedback to Children in Care Council and Care Leavers Forum, and discuss others experience and what needs to be shared with the Corporate Parent Panel to consider for West Sussex Young People.