Introduction to the Sibling Assessment Report (SAR) - morning session


Research has recognised the challenges for social workers when making decisions about whether to place children in permanent placements with their siblings, as well as making plans to help children maintain those sibling relationships where separate placements are required to meet their individual needs.

Adoption Statutory Guidance 2013 sets out that ‘Where an agency is making a placement decision on two or more children from the same family, it should be based on a comprehensive assessment of the quality of the children’s relationship, their individual needs and the likely capacity of the prospective adopter to meet the needs of all the siblings being placed together’. Where it is not possible for the siblings to be placed together the agency should consider carefully the need for the children to remain in contact with each other and the need for adoption support.’ 

In 2018 CoramBAAF decided to update and further develop their Good Practice Guide Together or Apart and this led to the publication of Beyond Together or Apart . The book explored relevant research on sibling relationships to help inform assessments and placed a strong emphasis on multi-sourcing information and corroborating evidence wherever possible. It highlighted the importance of completing an assessment of each sibling’s individual needs as well as those of the sibling group and the importance of a collaborative approach between families, social workers and foster carers working together and with others to understand and meet children’s needs. 

In 2020 Shelagh Beckett and Elaine Dibben created the Sibling Assessment Report template for social workers to use with accompanying guidance which links to the model set out in Beyond Together or Apart and the questionnaires created to gather the required information. The draft Sibling Assessment Format was then piloted by 7 Regional Adoption Agencies / local authorities. 


This event will:

  • Introduce workers to the SAR; how it was developed and adapted during the pilot phase and used by social workers to assist their decision making
  • Present the model of sibling assessment  developed and outlined in ‘Beyond Together or Apart’
  • Provide an opportunity to consider how the report template/format could be introduced to other workers in children’s services and included in existing agency processes and procedures 


This event will be of particular interest to children’s services social workers and managers; Independent Reviewing Officers, adoption agency staff; independent fostering providers; family law solicitors and barristers; CAFCASS Guardians; adoption and fostering Panel Chairs.


10.20am  Registration 
10.30am  Welcome and introduction to the event – Elaine Dibben, Adoption Development Consultant, CoramBAAF
10.40am  Presentation – Assessing Sibling Relationships – Shelagh Beckett, Childcare Consultant and author of Beyond Together or Apart
11.20pm  Q and A 
11.40am  Development of the SAR and lessons learned – Elaine Dibben and Pilot Agencies 
12.00pm  Breakout Groups – Use of the SAR in care planning and integrating into existing agency policy and practice
12.25pm  Final questions
12.30pm  Close


This is a free event for all – members and non-members.


Email the events team at or call 020 7520 2043/7520.