Karen Morrison hales from her home county of North Fife where she setup and developed STAR-Siblings Reunited about six years ago. As a foster carer for eleven years she found that foster care for young children was very unpredictable and was really respite care in many cases. Sixteen thousand children in care have siblings, up to seventy percent, often not seen or kept in touch. Sibling projects to overcome this issue are very popular but tend to lack funds.
Karen explained how her situation lent itself to taking groups of children in foster care with their siblings. Children referred through social workers come from Glasgow and Inverness as well a locally from Perth and Fife. A lot of the work at the centre is carried out by the 50 or so volunteers making use of local woodlands, beaches and gardens. The involvement of the siblings lasts for two hours at a time and occurs about once a month for each group. Some four hundred children have passed through the system to date with a lot of attention to birthdays and national holidays like Easter and Christmas.
Karen took care to explain how STAR has contributed to the lives of some four hundred children. Many between the ages of six months to six years do not have contact with brothers or sisters. Much of the problem arises from what can be written in law.
Karen is rightly proud of the group’s achievement and the genuine basis for many more years of work but understands that there s much still to be done. This was mentioned by Rotarian Bill Smith in his vote of thanks.