Staying Connected: Siblings separated by care and custody

This is a joint project between SCRA and Families Outside and funded by The Promise.

Surveys of people in prison show relatively high levels of care experience, suggesting there are likely significant numbers of children and young people who have a sibling in prison who are in care themselves, yet we know nothing about these experiences. Limited research is available which considers the impact of the imprisonment of a brother or sister for children and young people, and little evidence on care-experienced children and young people’s perspectives of having a family member in prison.

This project aims to address the gap in knowledge around ‘looked after’ children and young people’s experiences of sibling imprisonment; to ensure that the previously unheard voices of those with this experience are heard; and to influence how to address restoration and maintenance of contact with an imprisoned sibling for these children.

The project will initially explore the issues around the identification, restoration, and maintenance of sibling relationships where one sibling is in care and one is on remand or serving a sentence. It will then look at how these issues can be addressed and the implementation of processes and structures to enable these relationships to be supported

The research part of the project will be carried out in two phases:

Phase 1 (February – July 2022) – a sample of case files from SCRA’s case management system will be analysed to identify levels of sibling imprisonment for looked after children and what data is held in relation to these cases.

Phase 2 (August 2022 – February 2023) – children and young people who are, or have been, in care with experience of a sibling on remand or serving a sentence in prison or a secure unit, or who are currently in custody and have a care-experienced sibling, will be invited to take part in interviews.

A Young Person’s Expert Advisory Group will oversee the project and be involved at key stages in the process to provide their expert guidance and feed into any recommendations and dissemination plans.

Research contact details

If you are interested in taking part in the research, work with groups who might be interested, or just want to know more about the project, please get in touch with Kirsty Deacon:

Kirsty.Deacon@scra.gov.uk      07494 675189

Please look out for further information which will be coming soon on how children and young people can take part in this study!

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