Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

13.9 Sibling Relationship Decisions

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 13-Adoption Services
13.9 Sibling Relationship Decisions

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Legal Authority/Introduction



The SSW:

  1. Interviews each sibling of appropriate age and documents:
    1. The wishes of each child;
    2. The child’s understanding of the facts of the siblings’ relationship (determine, if possible, if sibling abuse occurred);
    3. The child’s feelings about the sibling relationship and the proposed separation;
    4. The child’s ideas about options for placement; and
    5. Who the child views as the parent(s);
  2. Interviews the foster parents or other caretakers to learn their perceptions of each child’s relationship with siblings;
  3. Includes the recommendation(s) of therapists and psychologists working with each child which is considered and documented in the case file.

When sibling separation is considered:

  1. Following the completion of the assessment of the sibling relationship, the adoptive review committee meets, to coincide with the ongoing OOHC regional case consultation which includes:
    1. The SSW(s);
    2. Appropriate supervisors;
    3. KAPE specialist (if child has been referred to the KAPE); and
    4. Regional specialists.
  2. The adoption review committee or SSW:
    1. Consults the service region administrator (SRA) or designee if siblings are placed within a region and a consensus cannot be reached;
    2. Through supervisory channels consults with central office staff if siblings are placed in two (2) or more regions and a consensus cannot be reached.
  3. The SSW, through consultation with FSOS, documents and submits by memorandum to the SRA:
    1. The factors considered;
    2. The children’s wishes; and
    3. The reasons for the request to proceed with separating the sibling group. 
  4. The SSW includes in the recommendations the nature and frequency of future contact among separated siblings, and a copy of the memorandum is sent to all participating staff.
  5. A planning committee shall convene annually for siblings who remain separated in out-of-home care (OOHC) to determine if reunification is possible and to develop a plan for maintaining sibling connections. 
  6. The SRA or designee responds to the request in a memorandum to appropriate staff and central office staff within ten (10) working days of receipt.
  7. If the child is registered with KAPE, the SSW or child focused recruitment model (CRFM)recruiter, if assigned, updates the children's presentation summary packets and forwards a copy to the Adoption Services Branch when separation occurs.  

Practice Guidance

  • The decision to separate siblings is based on thorough review and documentation of each case.
  • Diligent efforts to reunite siblings separated in foster care are made as soon as possible.
    • When this is impossible, visits are scheduled between siblings frequently enough to appropriately meet the individual case circumstances while enhancing and supporting the sibling relationship as outlined in SOP 4.717.  

  • The SSW, the adoptive review committee, and KAPE make every effort to place siblings together for adoption unless serious, specific needs of one (1) or more of the siblings justifies the separation.


  1. A decision to recommend separation of siblings in adoption may be reached through consensus of the group.
  2. New photographs are required if the children are registered with KAPE.


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