Vol. 14, No. 1 November 2009
Honoring and Maintaining Sibling Connections
My brothers live far away. Each has his own career and family. Due to distance we don’t see each other very often, but not a day goes by that I do not think about them. I feel a deep connection to them that goes beyond words. My siblings are part of who I am.
If you have brothers or sisters, I think you will know what I mean. The influence of siblings on our lives is hard to exaggerate.
Historically, the child welfare system has not always done a great job acknowledging and protecting sibling relationships. Fortunately, that’s changing. In North Carolina and across the nation child welfare policy and practice increasingly emphasize preserving and maintaining sibling relationships of children in foster care whenever possible (Shlonsky, et al., 2005).
Yet for many children, foster care still means being separated from their brothers and sisters. National studies suggest that up to 75% of children in foster care are separated from at least one of their siblings (Casey Family Programs, 2003; CASCW, 2000).
This issue of Fostering Perspectives is about honoring and maintaining sibling connections. We lead off by bringing you the voices of children in care responding to the question, “Why are your siblings important to you?” Elsewhere in this issue you’ll hear from many others, including:
I hope that as you read this issue you will think about what you can do—as a foster parent, kinship parent, adoptive parent, or child welfare professional—to honor and preserve sibling connections for the children in your lives. —John McMahon, Editor
Additional essays from kids in care can be found by clicking here.
Copyright © 2009 Jordan Institute for Families