Planning for sibling continuity within permanency: Needs led or needs unmet
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Ellison, M. (1998) Planning for sibling continuity within permanency: Needs led or needs unmet. In: Mullender, A. (ed.) We are family: Sibling relationships in placement and beyond. London: British Agencies for Adoption & Fostering, pp. 128-139.
Although the requirement that siblings be accommodated together whenever ‘reasonably practical and consistent with [the child’s] welfare’ is written into section 23(7)(b) of the Children Act 1989, neither the Act nor its accompanying regulation and guidance documentation makes direct reference to sibling continuity planning in terms of placement together or of contact as a proactive and deliberate means of maintaining such links. In practice, proactive commitment to the importance of sibling relationships can be demonstrated in a range of forms of care planning for sibling groups. Having revealed a lack of any tangible policy or practice theories, the research reported here progressed to a more detailed focus upon decision-making processes as they impacted upon practice and as they were perceived by looked after sibling groups, their families, social workers and carers, so as to ascertain what professionals were actually doing.