New legislation has come into force to help siblings in care stay together.

Part 13 of the Children (Scotland) Act 2020 and the Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 means local authorities, like Renfrewshire Council, have a duty to ensure siblings are supported to stay together, where appropriate.

Where it is not appropriate for brothers and sisters to live together, steps should be taken to help them stay in regular touch with each other and to nurture their relationships.

The new rules also mean changes in Children’s Hearings procedures. Brothers and sisters will have new rights to appropriately participate – with support including advocacy services – in Children’s Hearings where contact with their siblings is being considered.

The Scottish Government Children’s Minister, Clare Haughey, said: “All children need the same things to thrive ­- a stable home, strong support and steady, loving relationships. We know through speaking to children and young people that the relationships with their brothers and sisters is vital to their sense of belonging and to their wellbeing.

“Thankfully, most siblings who experience care away from home are now placed together, but where that is not possible, it is important that those precious bonds are protected and nurtured through spending time with each other.

“The changes that come into force today are a significant step in our commitment to keeping The Promise to drive the changes needed in how we care for our children, young people and families.”