Linking Up Again: Views of Barnardo’s Elders on Being Separated from Their Siblings and How They Reconnected in Old Age

Ann Buchanan - Brothers and Sisters


This chapter will record the views of a small sample of elders (now in their 70s, 80s and 90s), who grew up in Barnardo’s facilities in the UK, on being separated from their siblings and how they re-connected with their brothers and sisters in old age. It will highlight how relationships with brothers and sisters were maintained despite great challenges and how these challenges were overcome. In addition, how they traced other members of their family once they had left Barnardo’s care, and how they found these sibling relationships supportive in old age. It will also highlight those siblings they no longer felt a connection to. In addition, the chapter will describe the ethos of care in the placement of siblings at Barnardo’s some fifty years ago, and how this contrasts with current debates in the UK on placing sibling together who are unable to live safely in their own homes. The chapter will include findings from the author’s earlier research using the National Child Development Study on family support among adults who have been in care as well as recent findings from an evaluation of the charity ‘siblings together’ who aim to help brothers and sisters placed in different establishments while in public care, to meet up.