Did you know that about two-thirds of children in foster care also have a sibling in care? Sadly, most of these children are separated from their siblings during placement in foster care. Some are separated during adoption when a family chooses one child. While it’s quite common, separating siblings has devastating effects as it alters the bond between siblings. A bond between siblings is unmatched; that’s why it’s critical to protect a relationship between siblings at all costs.
Why is it essential to have siblings stay together in a foster home?
Children who have gone through trauma operate in survival mode. They have a hard time adjusting to different ways of life, and the best way to help them cope is to keep their brother or sister close to them. A child’s relationship with his or her sibling is one of the most important and longest they can have in life. They help support each other, especially if they rely on each other. A sibling helps create a family connection and provides them with a sense of stability and belonging. Here are a few reasons why keeping siblings together is essential.
Creates lifelong relationships: Sibling relationships outlive friendships, partnerships, marriages and even birth parents. Siblings offer a long-term sense of who we are, where we belong, where we come from, and what matters to us the most.
Promotes general health and wellbeing: Living in foster homes means dealing with anxiety, trauma and other medical conditions that can impact a child’s life. Siblings are the best people to provide love, support and build confidence.
Enhances stability and permanency: A child will feel more comfortable, welcomed and appreciated when they have a sibling to talk to and grow up with.
What happens when siblings are separated?
When siblings are separated, they may feel isolated. The loss of being separated from your siblings and parents can be overwhelming. You end up finding coping mechanisms which often affect your overall behavior and character. You may feel insecure, detached and lonely. You’re also likely to miss out on normal family life.
As a result, such children may not know the importance of having their own families. They may not fully understand the value of a family, which can affect how they relate to and raise their children.
Should siblings always stay together?
Sometimes, it’s not always in the siblings’ best interests to stay together, especially if their relationship is complicated or if one child has specific needs. Like any other relationship, sibling relationships can be complex, mainly when a complex history is involved.
While the Department of Children and Families always makes an effort to place siblings within the same foster home, it’s not always possible to find a home that can accommodate all siblings. However, if siblings are separated, they have a right to see one another regularly. Institutions must create a visitation plan to ensure siblings spend quality time together. The number and duration of visits can vary from one institution to another.
Get in touch with us about Community-Based Services for Children and Families in Arizona
Whether you want to become a foster parent or are looking to learn more about the licensing process, we can help answer any questions you might have to make things easier for you. At Human Services Consultants, we support local communities by offering a comprehensive and culturally sensitive approach to therapeutic foster care. Feel free to contact us today.