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April 2012Vol. 13, No. 3Fostering Connections Sibling Provisions

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 requires States to make a "reasonable effort" to place siblings together in foster care, kinship care, or adoption placements. If placing siblings together is not possible, States must make a reasonable effort to ensure siblings visit together at least monthly, unless the placement or visit puts a child in danger.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which has been tracking State legislation related to the act, published summaries of States' progress toward fulfilling the sibling placement provision. The summaries quote language from States' bills.

In July 2009, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families issued a program instruction encouraging child welfare agencies to establish protocols to assist caseworkers in sibling placements. During the 2009, 2010, and 2011 State legislative sessions, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota (two bills), Missouri (two bills), Nebraska, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington submitted or passed bills related to these mandatory provisions.

Prior to the enactment of Fostering Connections, some States—Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington—submitted legislation to ensure the consideration of sibling placement and visitation for siblings in the child welfare system.

The State legislation summaries are available on the NCSL website:

Additional resources referenced on the NCSL website include the information packet, Sibling Placement: The Importance of the Sibling Relationship for Children in Foster Care, published by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections: (121 KB)