Sibling relationships are an important, yet underinvestigated dimension of foster care research. Despite the fact that a majority of children in care have brothers or sisters, only recently have child welfare researchers begun to explore the complex and dynamic nature of sibling relationships in substitute care settings. Although cross-sectional and longitudinal studies suggest differences in stability and permanency outcomes for siblings placed together versus those placed separately, exactly how and under what conditions do sibling relationships positively influence placement stability, permanency, and well-being in foster care settings remains unknown. This article provides a substantive review of the research on sibling foster care, placement stability, and well-being; identifies two theoretical frameworks that may be particularly useful to help explain the intersection of these constructs; and proposes a multilevel conceptual model for advancing research and practice with siblings in foster care.
- foster care
- placement stability