Sibling relationships can be critical to children's development and emotional well-being and may be especially crucial when children experience out-of-home placements. Some research suggests that children and youth experience better outcomes when placed with their siblings, and that the sibling bond may promote resilience under adverse conditions. Sibling relationships should be considered at multiple points throughout a case, including removal, out-of-home placement, and placement in a permanent home. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 highlights the importance of sibling connections by requiring States to make reasonable efforts to place siblings removed from the home in the same foster or adoptive home or kinship or guardianship placement, and to provide for frequent visits or other ongoing interactions (when safety permits). The following resources offer strategies that help promote and support sibling connections throughout the permanency process.
Child Visitation with Siblings and Parents (PDF - 1,208 KB)
Connecticut Department of Children and Families & Office for Research and Evaluation (2015)
Analyzes the effects of a Connecticut law that enables siblings separated by the Department of Children and Families who reside in-state and within 50 miles of each other to visit one another a minimum of once per week, unless such frequent visitation is not in the best interest of each sibling.
Delicate Balances: Assessing the Needs and Rights of Siblings in Foster Care to Maintain Their Relationships Post-Adoption (PDF - 239 KB)
New Mexico Law Review, 41(1)
Proposes reforms to maintain relationships between siblings in foster care. The article also addresses Federal and State statues concerning postadoption sibling contact and how courts have addressed the issue, as well as recent research.
Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2008: Sibling Placement Provision
National Conference of State Legislatures (2012)
Reviews State responses to the sibling placement provision of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.
Honoring and Maintaining Sibling Connections
North Carolina Division of Social Services & Family and Children’s Resource Program (2009)
Fostering Perspectives, 14(1)
Features articles about honoring and maintaining connections between siblings involved with child welfare, including tips for dealing with sibling rivalry and articles written by youth who experienced foster care.
Information Packet: Sibling Placement: The Importance of the Sibling Relationship for Children in Foster Care (PDF - 637 KB)
Cohn & Ariyakulkan (2012)
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Provides resources, legislation, projects, and other information about sibling placement and connections.
Neighbor To Family, Inc
Describes a foster care model that focuses on keeping siblings together, engaging families, working with qualified foster caregivers, and providing supports and services to foster and birth families. Examples of services include intensive, family-centered, strength-based, and solution-focused in-home services for families in crisis and substance treatment and addiction recovery services focused on developing an ongoing support system for the substance abuser and family.
Neighbor To Family: Supporting Sibling Groups in Foster Care: Formative and Efficacy Evaluation (PDF - 328 KB)
University of Colorado at Denver
Summarizes research on the Neighbor to Neighbor and Neighbor to Family approaches to providing services for sibling groups in foster care.