Evaluation of Siblings Together Buddy Project

Researchers from the Rees Centre carried out a mixed methods evaluation of the Buddy project. The project, run by charity Siblings Together, recruits and trains volunteers to become Buddies who support and encourage siblings to enjoy activities together on a monthly basis. The evaluation involved interviews with young people, Buddies, foster carers & residential home managers and social workers.  

Key Findings

Changes in the well-being of the children and young people involved:

  • Young people greatly enjoyed the contact with their siblings and wanted more frequent contact and for longer.
  • The high quality of the Buddies contributed to their positive experiences.
  • Five young people’s behaviour significantly improved.
  • Most of the young people developed greater confidence.
  • Older teenagers discussed futures, relationships, college and housing with siblings and Buddies.

 Changes in relationships between siblings and with family:

  • Relationships between siblings improved significantly.
  • Young people demonstrated closer, more affectionate, support to one another and found each other’s company to be a source of fun and laughter.
  • Siblings supported one another through crises e.g. placement changes, bereavements.
  • Siblings developed their sense of identity as part of a family through jointly experienced histories.

 Implications for Policy & Practice:

  • Give siblings, placed separately in care, informal opportunities to meet and participate in activities.
  • Provide support for siblings to meet in order to ensure safeguarding but not to impose formal contact.
  • Use volunteers who are trained and supported to undertake this role.
  • Fund activities and travel to enable them to meet – this is an investment in developing greater placement stability and increasing well-being.

Full report(pdf)

Summary – key messages (pdf)

Other Rees Centre work – siblings in care

Evidence review

What is known about the placement and outcomes of siblings in foster care? An international literature review. Authors: Sarah Meakings, Judy Sebba and Nikki Luke

February 2017