Local authorities have been urged to provide data on the number of siblings separated in care by a charity, after figures show it costs the UK economy £800m a year.
Siblings Together is highlighting the cost of separating the 40,000 children from their brothers and sisters in the care system. It is calling on the Government to collect data from councils on this practice.
Delma Hughes, chief executive and founder of Siblings Together said: 'The level of sibling separation in care is a national scandal. The emotional and physical cost of this industrial level of separation is obviously going to impact heavily on the individuals concerned, but it is also an unnecessary drain on the UK economy as without family networks, children in care are likely to have poorer life outcomes and contribute less to society.
'This could be avoided with better planning and multi-agency collaboration between government, local authorities, fostering agencies, social services and charities like ourselves.'
The charity argues that if just over a third of children in care separated from their siblings fall into the NEET category, this could cost the UK more than £800m, of which £400m represents the 'excess' of NEET rates for children in care.
A recent report found 71% of looked after children with a sibling in the care system were separated during 2014. This figure rose to 95% for those in residential homes.