Attachment D Overview
The sibling relationship is unique and should be fostered in its own right (Youth Leadership Advisory Team, 2002). The sibling relationship in placement can serve as a source of safety, security and promote a sense of well-being during a child’s placement in out-of-home care. The placement of siblings together preserves a child’s connection to his/her family and environment. The placement of siblings should be considered a priority in the case planning process.
When a child is placed in the care and custody of the Children’s Division, whether separately or as a part of a sibling group, efforts should be made to reunite the sibling group whenever possible. Siblings should be reunited in a placement, at the earliest time possible, unless determined not to be in the best interest of the child.
Related Subject: Section 1, Chapter 2.4, Rights of Children
Role of the Family Support Team in Sibling Placements
The primary purpose of placing the sibling group together should be discussed during the FST; this discussion should include, but is not limited the following:
- To preserve the sibling relationship and bond;
- Provide support and healing during a time of separation from their family and home; and
- Provide support for one another during their time of crisis and change.
The Family Support Team should determine whether sibling separation is in the best interest of the child. When making such determinations the Family Support Team should consider the age and developmental needs of each child, their attachment and emotional bond to one another and the effects separation will have on the siblings. Separations may result due to the following:
- A child has specials needs for therapeutic services, which may not be available in the proposed sibling placement;
- A child has inflicted physical, sexual, or emotional abuse on a sibling;
- Inability to find a placement provider that would take all the children;
- Court ordered separation;
- Half-sibling placed with a biological parent/relative; and
- Large group of siblings are placed with two relatives and contact can be maintained.
When the FST determines that a sibling group can not reside in the same household, the following options for placement preference should be considered:
- Placement in the same town/community;
- When placed in the same town/community, continue in the same school setting;
- Placement in the same geographic region; and
- Placement in a setting where the placement provider will encourage and facilitate frequent and meaningful contact.
Related Subject: Section 4, Chapter 4 Selection of Placement Resource and Placement Options