• November 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 10

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Permanency for Sibling Groups: The Neighbor to Family Model

Research has shown that keeping siblings together when they enter foster care bolsters positive outcomes, including reducing the trauma they experience upon being removed from their homes. The Neighbor To Family (NTF) model was designed to help keep siblings together and in their own communities. The NTF model differs from traditional foster care in its use of caregivers who are employees of the child welfare agency and who are recruited and trained specifically to serve sibling groups. The NTF caregivers receive regular support from the agency (e.g., group supervision, onsite support, monthly support groups, respite care) and are full participants in the assessment process and in the development and implementation of care plans. They also coparent with the birth parents, extended families, and any prospective adoptive parents.

A recent article in Family in Society describes a study in Georgia that compares sibling groups receiving NTF services with siblings groups in traditional foster care. The results indicate that NTF has a variety of positive outcomes for sibling groups, including the following:

  • Higher rate of placements with one or all siblings
  • Higher rate of placements within their home counties
  • Higher rates of reunification and kin adoption
  • Fewer days in care

The study also showed the NTF model provided significant cost savings ($27,303) per child. "Neighbor to Family: Supporting Sibling Groups in Foster Care," by Jim Rast and Jessica Rast, Families in Society, 95(2), doi: 10.1606/1044-3894.2014.95.11, is available here:

http://www.alliance1.org/sites/default/files/fis/alliance_fis_rast_neighbortofamily.pdf (852 KB)

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