Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for allowing me time tonight to speak on behalf of the thousands of children in care who are separated from their siblings and the thousands of care experienced adults who had to, and still do, endure this pain.
The relationships that adults deem to be the most important for children in care are not the same as those that are most important to children in care themselves. Government guidance acknowledges that maintaining contact with siblings is reported by children to be one of their highest priorities. Having that relationship ripped away causes them anguish on many levels. An Ofsted study showed that 86% of children in care thought it was important to keep siblings together and that three quarters thought councils should help children to keep in touch with their siblings. Yet shamefully, sibling contact levels in the care system remain woeful.