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Strathclyde-led child advocacy partnership wins in Society Awards

Dr Christine Jones, accompanied by representatives of Stand Up For Siblings, with the Herald Society Partnership Award. Photo by Newsquest.

A University of Strathclyde-led partnership, which campaigns for children in care to be placed together with their siblings and supported to keep in touch, has received a prestigious national award.

Stand Up For Siblings, a collaboration between educational, child welfare, children’s rights and legal organisations, was named the winner in the Partnership category of the Herald Society Awards.

Strathclyde is a partner in the organisation, along with two centres based at the University, the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures and the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS).

Stand Up For Siblings advocates for the rights of children facing separation from their brothers and sisters when entering the care system and works to inform policy and practice in this area.

Around 40% of children in adoptive or permanent fostering families in Scotland are living apart from all of their birth siblings, while around 70% of children in adoptive or permanent fostering families in Scotland are separated from at least one of their birth siblings.

Fourteen representatives from the partnership attended the awards ceremony in Glasgow.

Dr Christine Jones, Senior Lecturer in Strathclyde’s School of Social Work and Social Policy and co-founder of Stand Up For Siblings, said: “What an honour. We are delighted to win the partnership award. We were up against some really tough competition, so congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted.

“This has been a fantastic year for Stand Up For Siblings. We celebrated the first anniversary of our launch in March this year with a very welcome announcement by the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP, that there were plans to make improvements to the law for brothers and sisters who are in the care system. The law is to be strengthened in relation to keeping brothers and sisters together when they are placed in local authority care when it is in their interest to do so.

“We hope that our partnership has made some positive strides, but we know there is so much more still to do to protect the rights and promote the wellbeing of siblings in Scotland. Thank you to everyone involved in Stand Up For Siblings, this award has been down to everyone in the partnership working together to make positive changes to legislation, policy and practices.”

Strathclyde had a further nomination in the Worker of the Year category of the Society Awards, in which Gillian Melville, Case Supervisor with Strathclyde Law Clinic, was shortlisted.