Self-assessment and registration

Self-assessment

The SibAware self-assessment tool empowers organisations to:

  • evaluate their family and sibling policies, practices, and service delivery
  • identify their existing strengths as well as pinpoint any potential gaps regarding family and sibling support; and
  • plan strategically in the crucial area of sibling support

If you would like to register as being a SibAware organisation, you can complete the self-assessment tool first, which will help with the evaluation of your organisation and its approaches to support siblings within the whole family unit. Alternatively, you are welcome to just use the self-assessment tool to inform your organisation’s own practice.

 

Note: These approaches can be applicable to both children and teenagers. Providers should use their discretion when implementing these aspects of SibAware, to ensure they are age-appropriate.

 

Organisational policy, procedure & governance

What this could look like

Develop organisational policies that acknowledge the importance of the whole family, including siblings. Ensure policies and procedures reflect a commitment to a whole-family approach, early intervention and prevention.Include the term ‘whole family’ in strategic documents. Where the term ‘whole family’ is used, ensure there is a definition which includes siblings. Develop procedures for including siblings in documentation and databases.
Review terminology in policies, procedures, and communication materials to ensure terminology is sibling inclusive.When the term ‘family’ is used, ensure its application and/or interpretation is inclusive of siblings. Refer to ‘family members’ rather than ‘parents’, where appropriate.
Review assessment, provision of support and case closure processes to ensure siblings are included and the organisation’s ways of working recognise and acknowledge siblings.Develop appropriate documentation. For example, update intake forms to ensure they reflect the whole family structure, more accurately than they currently do.

 

Service delivery and ways of working

What this could look like

Promote and celebrate siblings as key members of families, whose role is valued and respected. Regularly review sibling relationships in families as siblings move into different age stages.Display the SibAware principles at the service. Ask siblings if they have information they would like to contribute to ‘Personal Profiles’ or ‘Life Journals’ for their brother or sister. Siblings often have a unique perspective, even from a relatively young age. Acknowledge and respond to the way sibling relationships can change over time as siblings move into different age stages.
Develop and deliver programs that focus on maintaining and strengthening the sibling bond.Where possible, acknowledge and show interest in siblings. Provide programs that promote sibling connection. Encourage staff to undertake training in the needs of siblings. Ensure therapists include siblings in their assessments, goal setting and support sessions for the child with disability.
Review all settings that families come into contact with, including family/home environments, school, health system, peers, community to ensure they incorporate support for siblings.Ensure staff know about community sources of sibling support, e.g. relevant therapists, school programs.
Access support for all family members, including siblings, by providing them with information, and referring them to community organisations.Keep a database of referral pathways. Provide information to families about sibling and whole family supports in the community. Provide families with link to Siblings Australia website and information on support groups etc. Explore sharing staff human resources with other organisations in order to run sibling peer support programs. Consider ways NDIS supports could be used by parents to support all their children, eg, an NDIS goal for a child with disability might be ‘to strengthen my relationship with my sibling’.
Review sibling wellbeing annually. The review could be aligned with an annual review of the child with disability. Take a prevention/early intervention approach to avoid later challenges for the sibling.Ask parents to give feedback on how the sibling is impacted at home, school etc and develop goals for the sibling. Explore how siblings might be incorporated into the review of the child with disability.
Develop partnerships with other agencies that support families with disability. Share resources with them about running sibling programs. Encourage staff to become involved with other sibling support networks.Reach out to other organisations in the area to map how the local community is supporting siblings. Consider working together on building a network of resources for families.

 

Workforce development

What this could look like

Support staff to access up-to-date research material and resources related to family experience of disability (including identification of risk and protective factors) and strengths-based approaches. Provide staff with education regarding the impact of disability on the whole family, as well as best practice family/sibling support.Keep a library of books and articles that cover the whole family experience, and specifically, the sibling experience. Connect staff to sibling-support-specific training. Connect staff to sibling-specific website resources, eg. Siblings Australia website. Have family members present to staff about their experiences.
Invest resources into the development of sibling-specific support . Engage a key person to take responsibility of the ‘sibling portfolio’. Encourage parent/sibling involvement.Develop sibling-specific support such as informational resources, training, policies. Engage a key person or team to focus on the development of sibling support , and the review of best practice in family and sibling support. This team could include family members of a person with disability from time to time.
Provide training in how siblings can be included in child/family interventions.Ensure staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills to include siblings in therapeutic approaches when appropriate.
Provide training for staff about the experiences and needs of siblings from early childhood, through to young adulthood. In the training, focus on the important role siblings can play in the life of their brother or sister, when they have a strong sibling relationship . Acknowledge the way sibling relationships can change over time as siblings move into different age stages.Connect staff to sibling-support-specific training.

 

Research

What this could look like

Evaluate own services for sibling inclusivity. Encourage research into what helps strengthen families/siblings.Promote the inclusion of siblings in any research or service evaluation conducted by your organisation. Include siblings in feedback on services and their value.

 

 

Organisational policy, procedure and governance

  • Develop organisational policies that acknowledge the importance of the whole family, including siblings.
  • Collect and keep information about adult sibling contacts on file and in databases in accordance with your organisational privacy guidelines.
  • Where appropriate, encourage adult siblings to be involved in consultation groups, boards of management, etc.

Service delivery and ways of working

  • Create opportunities for peer support for siblings, ie. connecting siblings with shared experiences of having a brother or sister with disability or a chronic health condition.
  • Regularly review sibling relationships in families as siblings’ circumstances change.
  • Involve siblings in annual NDIS planning meetings . Ask siblings if they have information they would like to contribute to ‘Personal profiles’ or ‘Life journals’ for their brother or sister.
  • Talk with parents about including the names of adult siblings as support/contact people.
  • Encourage parents to be aware of the importance of planning for the future – for themselves, for their child living with disability, and for the whole family.
  • Support families to navigate difficult discussions about the future, especially if parents and siblings hold different views about goals/independence for the person with disability.
  • Personally invite siblings to family social events , activity days or NDIS planning meetings rather than always relying on parents to pass on the information.
  • Provide siblings with information about disability services to help them navigate the supports that are available, ultimately contributing to quality of life for their brother or sister with disability.
  • Where appropriate, link siblings to information, e.g. SibPlan, to assist them with planning for the future.
  • Encourage adult siblings to ask questions about services provided for their brother/sister or about other services that might be available.
  • Develop and deliver programs to help maintain the sibling bond and ensure ‘the sibling relationship comes first’. For siblings who live far away, there are a number of creative ways to do this, such as email, photos, and video chat.
  • Provide siblings with link to Siblings Australia website and information on sibling resources, programs such as SibChat, the Siblings Australia closed Facebook group for adult siblings etc.
  • Assist siblings to find sources of support, e.g. peer support, therapeutic support, to help them process any difficult experiences, including experiences from childhood, and experiences related to changing parent caring capacity.

Workforce development

  • Provide training to staff about the experiences and needs of adult siblings.
  • Provide training to staff about the importance of the role adult siblings can play in the life of their brother or sister, regardless of any caregiving role they might play. Include discussions that not all siblings will be willing or able to accept high levels of commitment, and siblings should not be expected to ‘take over’ from parents.
  • Connect staff to sibling-specific website resources, eg. Siblings Australia website.

Terminology

  • Specifically mention siblings in service delivery information.
  • Review terminology in policies, procedures and communication materials to ensure terminology is sibling inclusive, eg. refer to ‘family members’ rather than ‘parents’, where appropriate.

 

 

Registration

When you register your organisation as SibAware you:

  • demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to a comprehensive family-oriented approach.
  • distinguish your organisation as a leader in sibling and family support.
  • signal to your organisation’s stakeholders, clients, and the broader community that you adhere to standards that ensure the highest quality of care and assistance for siblings and families.
  • open avenues for collaborative partnerships with other like-minded organisations, ultimately contributing to the establishment of a compassionate and supportive ecosystem for all involved.

If you wish to register as being SibAware and use the logo in your marketing to indicate that your organisation takes a whole family approach, please click on the register to be SibAware button below.

Note that to be registered, at least one member of your team must also complete SibWise . To maintain SibAware registration your organisation must re-register annually and have a staff member currently employed who has completed SibWise at some point. This re-registration reinforces the commitment to fostering a supportive environment for siblings and families alike.

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