CfC FP ObjectiveSupporting families and parents 
Delivered toChildren 8 to 12 years of age who are siblings of a child with a disability 
Delivered byHealth and educational professionals can become program facilitators
Delivery settingCommunity-based, organisation or school-based
Program developerSiblings Australia 

About the program

SibWorks is an early-intervention in-person peer-support program for siblings (aged 8-12 years) of children with disability or chronic illness. 

The program aims to reduce social isolation, enhance social networks, improve relationships between family members and build children’s resilience and emotional well-being.

Program structure

SibWorks is run as a structured program delivered in 2 hour blocks over 7 weeks (or a 3-day intensive course.) The program is suitable for groups of 6-10 children and requires 2 facilitators.

Each session covers a set theme and includes a mix of individual and group reflective exercises plus physical activities. Some of the themes explored by facilitators include:

  • individual differences
  • expression of feelings
  • problem solving
  • coping with difficult situations.

A pre-program interview is strongly advised for the participants and their caregivers, and guidelines are provided for a caregiver information session.

Facilitator training

To facilitate SibWorks, individuals must complete a self-paced online training course that is delivered in 5 modules. The online training course, which include the foundational SibWise course, takes approximately 4-6 hours to complete.

Once the training is completed, facilitators will be able to:

  • respond to the unique needs of siblings
  • deliver support to siblings in a peer group format
  • bring developmental theory into their work with siblings
  • implement all elements of a SibWorks program

Successful participants are awarded a Certificate of Completion (issued by Launch, a division of SA Health). Some participants may also be able to claim Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.

Following completing, facilitators will have access to:

  • The online eLearning module SibWise (successful completion is a pre-requisite for SibWorks facilitator training)
  • SibWorks facilitator manual
  • 10 x SibWorks participant workbooks
  • Membership of a national Community of Practice (CoP) of SibWorks facilitators

Siblings Australia also provides follow up consultation, further training and implementation support to organisations that wish to include this program in their service delivery.


$250 (inclusive GST and postage). The cost covers training, workbooks, program manual and access to online resources.

Evaluation and effectiveness

A randomised control trial (Roberts et al., 2015) was conducted in 2015 with 42 participants aged 8 to 12 (22 were participants assigned to the intervention group, and 20 participants were assigned to the control group). Outcomes were measured at pre and post-treatment stages and at a 3-month follow up point.

Results showed that children in the intervention group had improved emotional and behavioural functioning with a medium to large effect post-intervention and at the 3-month follow up period. 


Roberts, R.M., Ejova, A., Giallo, R., Strohm, K., Lillie, M., & Fuss, B. (2015). A controlled trial of the SibworkS group program for siblings of children with special needs. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 43-44, 21 – 31. 


Siblings Australia
Phone: 08 8253 4936
Email: [email protected]