Laura Sharman 08 September 2014

A third of foster children split from siblings

One in three children placed into foster care have been separated from their siblings, according to new research.

Information published by Action for Children found that a third of children (3,582) were separated from their brothers and sisters when placed in foster care, with half of all children saying it made them feel ‘upset and angry’.

The charity warns this practice can affect the emotional and mental health of children, and lead to further problems in adulthood such as substance addiction and criminal activity.

Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: ‘For many children, being taken into care can be a confusing and upsetting time; add the distress of being split up from your brother or sister into the mix and the impact will last a lifetime.

‘We know that in some cases children can be so badly hurt by what has happened to them before going into care, including severe neglect and abuse, that they need one–to-one support. In the vast majority of cases, however, siblings benefit hugely by staying together and that's why we need more foster carers to help them.’

The charity’s Freedom of Information request revealed 11,082 children from sibling groups were placed in local authority foster care over the last financial year.

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