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April 2015Vol. 16, No. 3Promoting Sibling Connections in Foster Care

Recognizing that sibling relationships are critical for the healthy development of a child, child welfare agencies make efforts to keep siblings together in foster care whenever possible. Sometimes, however, not all siblings can remain together. The Coalition for Children, Youth and Families, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, developed a tip sheet for foster parents regarding ways to support sibling connections for the children and youth they are fostering who have been separated from their siblings. The tip sheet also addresses challenges resulting from these separations.

Some of the topics covered by the guide include:

  • Identifying signs of grief caused by the stress of living apart from siblings
  • Determining if connections are safe and appropriate
  • Preparing your child and helping arrange for successful visits

The tip sheet also offers useful recommendations aimed at supporting the family bond and preserving contact among siblings, such as the following:

  • Display a photo of brothers/sisters in your child's room.
  • Facilitate and supervise visits as appropriate and approved by the caseworker.
  • Encourage the exchange of cards/letters and social media interactions as methods of contact (with monitoring).

Links to related books, web resources, and tip sheets from other organizations are also included.

Fostering a Child Whose Sibling(s) Live Elsewhere is available on the Coalition's website at (505 KB).