In March we heard the exciting news that the Scottish Government plans to improve the law for brothers and sisters in the care system. Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP later confirmed in an answer to a parliamentary question from Kezia Dugdale MSP that this will be done through the Family Law Bill which is due to be introduced later this year:
“The Scottish Government is committed to making our care system the best that it can be. We are considering how best to use law and practice to make sure that more children are kept together, either physically, or through the proactive encouragement of contact.
There are already provisions in the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 which require local authorities to assess sibling relationships and to ensure that brothers and sisters are placed together, or near to each other, where practicable; and we aim to strengthen these legal provisions.
The Scottish Government has now published an analysis of the consultation responses. The individual responses, including that submitted by Clan Childlaw and jointly by Stand Up for Siblings, can be found on the Scottish Government Consultation Hub here.
Lots of the points made in our consultation response are highlighted in the Analysis, at section 5 on Contact. Also, our response to question 10 of the consultation – What do you think would strengthen the existing guidance to help a looked after child to keep in touch with other children they have shared family life with? – can be found in Appendix A, including the amendments we suggested to legislation and guidance.
We look forward to the publication of the Bill!