To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many fostered children have been separated from their siblings in each of the last five years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to reunite siblings who have been placed in separate foster homes.
The data requested is not held centrally.
The Department for Education is clear that siblings should be placed together where possible. While the data requested is not held centrally, Action for Children published research on 8 September highlighting the importance of keeping siblings together where this is in their best interests. This research can be found online at:
The Department is working closely with councils to help them recruit more foster carers who can meet the needs of children harder to place, such as sibling groups.
Nationally, fostering services are improving their recruitment of foster carers. In 2013 the Government announced a new package of support totalling £750,000 to help local authorities boost foster care recruitment by broadening the range of people who foster.
This funding is supporting four consortia partnerships of local authorities and independent fostering services, two of which have made increasing the number of foster carers that can care for sibling groups a priority. We plan to share the learning from the consortia in 2015.
We would also welcome bids to the Innovation Programme from local authorities who may like to test new, innovative approaches to addressing this issue.