Contact with siblings in the care system

If your sibling is in care you may feel like you do not get to talk to them or see them as much as you would like to.

Children’s Services, by law, must help you and your sibling(s) contact each other unless this would place them at risk of harm.

How can I have contact with my sibling if they are in care but I am not?

You should speak to Children’s Services, and if possible, your sibling’s Social Worker saying that you would like contact.

If you are not getting as much contact as you would like you might be able to go to court to get an order. You will need permission to go to court. If you want to make an application for contact you should seek legal advice. You can get in touch with us here.

How can I have contact with my sibling if we are both in care?

If you are in care yourself, you should talk to your Social Worker about your views and feelings on contact with your sibling. If you have an advocate, they may be able to talk to the Social Worker for you.

Both you and your sibling should have a care plan. The care plan will explain what your needs are, how these needs will be met, and the general plan for your future. The care plan will also describe the contact arrangements with your family. You should be spoken to and listened to when the care plan is being written and also when your plan is reviewed so you should have a further opportunity to make your voice heard about having contact with your sibling.

You should speak to your Independent Reviewing Officer if you cannot agree with Children’s Services about contact arrangements. Their job is to ensure your best interests are being met.

If contact arrangements cannot be agreed, then you can also complain to Children’s Services. You should ask your advocate for help with this. For more information see Complaints to Children’s Services.

You may also want to see a solicitor for help in getting contact. Your solicitor would be able to talk you through the process of getting an order from the court and will make the application for you. Any order that you get from the court will be legally binding, which means that Children’s Services must let you have the contact which is set out in the court order.

What kind of contact can I have?

Contact can be:

  • personal visits to see your sibling face to face
  • exchanging letters
  • speaking over the phone
  • sharing photos.

If you live quite far away from your sibling that does not mean you should not have contact. It just means there will need to be some careful planning.