The case for supporting siblings of seriously ill children
A child’s life changes dramatically when their sibling is diagnosed with a serious illness. Our new report, See us, Hear us, Notice us, sets out why the support of brothers and sisters – known as sibling support - should be valued and funded more highly.
When a child becomes ill, a parent will have less time to focus on their brothers and sisters. Routines change, and a healthy child can struggle to understand what’s happening. Getting to and from school can be hard, and opening up about their feelings can be difficult as they try to protect their parents from more worry.
Sibling support from organisations like Rainbow Trust can help children learn important coping mechanisms and find an outlet for their strong feelings. Practical support can help them get to school and keep up with homework. Meeting other children in the same situation can also help them feel less isolated.
However, despite a rise in demand, funding has fallen. These services need to be far better valued and funded by decision-makers.
A huge thank you to the more than 200 parents, adult siblings, professionals and members of the public who signed our open letter to government. The campaign has really hit a nerve, with many people leaving powerful messages of support.
A copy of the letter, along with supporters’ personal messages, was delivered to Care Minister Caroline Dinenage MP, and to Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP, ahead of siblings day on 10 April 2019.
Care Minister Caroline Dinenage, who is responsible for government policy on children’s palliative care, recently responded to our concerns. She acknowledged Rainbow Trust’s ‘invaluable work… to support families through a difficult time’ and set out a range of existing policy measures. However, she did not indicate any concrete steps that will guarantee better recognition or funding for sibling support.
Rainbow Trust’s call for sibling support to be valued and funded more highly was delivered by siblings to government ministers in person on Tuesday 9 April.
Siblings Hannah, Rose and Eddie, along with Rainbow Trust CEO Zillah Bingley, delivered an open letter to government which has now been co-signed by more than 200 parents, professionals and supporters.READ MORE