Self Assesment

Evaluating an organisation’s policies, practices, and service delivery through the SibAware™ lens not only highlights existing strengths but also pinpoints potential gaps. This self-assessment serves as a valuable tool, empowering organisations to scrutinize their practices concerning family and sibling support. It forms the cornerstone for strategic planning in this crucial foundational area. If providers wish to register as being SibAware™ and use the logo in their marketing to indicate that they take a whole family approach, please click through on the dropdown box below; otherwise, you can just use the self-assessment tool to inform your own practice. Note that registration also requires the completion of SibWise by at least one member of your team. It’s important to note that SibAware™ registration mandates annual re-registration through Siblings Australia, reinforcing the commitment to fostering a supportive environment for siblings and families alike.


Note: These approaches are applicable to both children and teenagers. Providers should use their discretion regarding the age-appropriate ways of implementing these aspects of SibAware.


Organisational Policy, Procedure & Governance

What this could look like

Develop organisational policies that acknowledge the importance of the whole family. Ensure policies and procedures reflect a commitment to a whole-family approach, early intervention and prevention. Include in strategic documents the term ‘whole family’. 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. Review application and/or interpretation of family to ensure it is inclusive of siblings. Refer to ‘family members’ rather than ‘parents’ where appropriate.
Review assessment, support provided and case closure processes to ensure the inclusion of siblings and ways of working to recognise and acknowledge siblings. Appropriate documentation needs to be developed; for example, intake forms can more appropriately (than current practice) reflect the whole family structure.

Service Delivery and Ways of Working

What this could look like

Promote and celebrate the role of siblings as key members of families who are valued and respected. Display the SibAware Principles at the service and provide them in materials given to families. Ask siblings if they have information they would like to contribute to ‘Personal Profiles’ or ‘Life Journals’ for their brother or sister. They often have a unique perspective, even from a relatively young age.
Develop and provide 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, in goal setting and in support sessions for the CWD.
Review ways of working with families which considers the possible role of all settings which includes family/home environments, school, peers, community. Ensure staff know about community sources of sibling support, e.g., relevant therapists, school programs.
Develop pathways of support for the whole family through referrals, community links and information. Keep a database of referral pathways. Provide information to families about sibling and whole family supports in the community. Explore sharing resources in order to run sibling peer support programs.
Develop procedures to ensure that there is an annual review of sibling well-being. This could be aligned with any annual review of the child with disability. Take a prevention/Early Intervention approach to avoid later problems. 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 contribute to the review of the child with disability.
Develop partnerships with other agencies that support families with disability. Share resources in running sibling programs. Encourage staff involvement in sibling support networks. Reach out to other organisations in the area to map how the local community is supporting siblings and work together on perhaps 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 (identification of risk and protective factors) and strengths-based approaches. Provide education to staff regarding the impact of disability on the whole family, as well as best practice family/sibling support. Keep a library of books, articles that cover the whole family experience, and specifically, sibling experience. Connect staff to relevant training, have family members present to staff about their experiences.
Invest resources into the development of sibling support, with a key person to take portfolio responsibility. Encourage parent/sibling involvement. A key person or team with portfolio responsibility 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 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 to staff about the experiences and needs of siblings from early childhood focusing on the importance of the role they can play in the life of their brother or sister, if the sibling relationship is strengthened. Staff could be encouraged to join existing networks of sibling support providers.


What this could look like

Evaluate own services, encourage research into what helps strengthen families/siblings. Promote the inclusion of siblings in any research or service evaluation Include siblings in feedback on services and their value.

Organisation Policy & Procedures

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

Workforce Development

  • Provide training to staff about the experiences and needs of adult siblings as well as the importance of the role they can play in the life of their brother or sister.

Service Delivery & Ways of Working

  • Create opportunities for shared experiences with siblings.
  • Review the involvement of siblings at annual planning meetings.
  • 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.
  • Personally invite siblings to social events or planning meetings rather than always relying on parents to pass on the information.
  • Encourage adult siblings to ask questions about services provided for their brother/sister or about others that might be available.
  • Assist families to navigate difficult discussions about the future, especially if parents and siblings hold different views about goals/independence for the person with disability.
  • Develop programs to help maintain the sibling bond. For siblings who live far away, there are a number of creative ways to do this, such as email, photos, and video chat.
  • Assist siblings to find sources of support to process any difficult experiences from childhood, e.g., peer support, therapeutic support.
  • Connect siblings with other siblings, e.g. SibChat, the Siblings Australia closed Facebook group for adult siblings.

Changing Terminology & Development of Resources

  • Specifically mention siblings in service delivery information.
  • Refer to ‘family members’ rather than ‘parents’ where appropriate.
  • Provide information about disability services to increase their capacity to contribute to a ‘good life’ for their brother or sister with disability.

Registering as SibAware™ not only demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to a comprehensive family-oriented approach but also distinguishes your organisation as a leader in sibling and family support. By becoming a registered SibAware™ provider, organizations signal to their stakeholders, clients, and the broader community that they adhere to rigorous standards, ensuring the highest quality of care and assistance for siblings and families. This recognition fosters trust, enhances credibility, and opens avenues for collaborative partnerships, ultimately contributing to the establishment of a compassionate and supportive ecosystem for all involved.

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