Sibling Networks of Children Adopted From Out-Of-Home Care in New South Wales, Australia.
Luu, Betty. Conley Wright, Amy. Cashmore, Judith.
Published: December 2020
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 119 , p. 1-10
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For children in care, sibling relationships can be one of their most important life-long relationships. This study describes the nature and complexity of the sibling networks of children adopted from out-of-home care in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A case file analysis was undertaken of 89 case files for the adoption of 117 children from care, representing all such adoptions that were finalised by the NSW Supreme Court in 2017. In nine in ten cases, children in the adoption application had at least one sibling who lived elsewhere and who was not part of the application. De-identified information about children and siblings’ characteristics living situations, contact arrangements, and relationships were extracted and coded using thematic analysis. Sibling networks were generally large and diverse. Frequency of face-to-face contact between children and their siblings varied based on degree of relatedness, living arrangements, and caregiver type. Importantly, contact arrangements that are in place prior to an adoption order are pivotal to decisions made about proposed post-adoption contact. The results of this study suggest that when siblings are separated in care, efforts are needed to help children, siblings and their caregivers initiate and maintain connections. Such findings highlight the need for adequate post-adoption resources to support sibling connections over time. (Author abstract)
SIBLINGS; OPEN ADOPTION; OUT OF HOME CARE; FOSTER CARE; CASE REVIEWS; FOSTER CHILDREN; AUSTRALIA