Thousands of brothers and sisters are being split up when they are placed in foster care, it has been suggested.
Around a third of youngsters who were fostered in the last year were separated from their siblings, according to research by Action for Children.
The charity warned that separating brothers and sisters who are being taken into care can leave children feeling lost or abandoned at what is already a confusing and upsetting time.
Figures obtained by Action for Children showed that across 159 UK councils which provided results, 11,082 children with siblings were placed in care between April last year and March.
Of these around 3,598 youngsters (32 per cent) were split up from their brothers and sisters.
A separate poll of 2,000 UK youngsters found that of the more than 300 children questioned who were in foster care, two thirds said that they had been separated from their siblings.
Half of these youngsters said that being split up had made them feel upset and angry, while nearly a third felt lonely and a fifth admitted they felt scared.