This story of sibling separation from Ashley John-Baptiste in this BBC documentary article is not unusual. As a social worker I once identified a sister who shared the same mother for twins who had been in our care for years.
The importance of properly researching genograms (family trees) and chronologies, really understanding peoples lives by getting to know them and their wider families in depth, gives insight to support identity formation, belonging, a sense of place, an understanding of our own story. These are important links in the lives of our young people and require our investment at an early stage to forge a network of interdependence, rather than independence, that will aid resilience in their adult lives. There’s also strong evidence on the importance of sustaining sibling care-giving and care-receiving in building resilience.
This is epitomised in Saskia’s wonderful comment in the article: “It was us three against the world, it always has been. Sometimes siblings are all you have left. If you take those away, you’re taking away the last bit of someone’s identity”.
The article also touches on the importance of the sibling-like relationships those of us working in and around residential care have seen young people build up in children’s homes. Do we pay sufficient attention to these when these ‘placements’ (or chapters in young lives) end?
Of course this should begin with a real focus on avoiding separation – Josh MacAlister and the Care Review I’m sure will take note.
You can watch the full documentary on BBC iPlayer here