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Siblings

Also visit our Fostering Connections and Kinship/Guardianship webpage for additional resources pertaining to siblings.

Siblings Provisions Overview

  • Fostering Connections Act Section 206: Siblings Provision Summary
    Requires each state to make reasonable efforts to place siblings removed from their home in the same foster care, kinship guardian, or adoptive placement, unless the state can document that joint placement is contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings; and in the case of siblings who are not jointly placed, require states to provide for “frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the siblings” unless the state documents that this would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings.

    This summary was written by Emilie Stoltzfus, Specialist in Social Policy Domestic Social Policy Division, Congressional Research Service. Click here to access the full Summary and Section-by-Section Description of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (H.R. 6893).
T/TA & Web Based Resources from NRCs, Children’s Bureau, T/TA Network
  • Maintaining Sibling Connections
    This resource is part of a series of fact sheets for States and Tribes made available by The Training and Technical Assistance Coordination Center (TTACC). These two-page briefs describe available training and technical assistance (T/TA) from the Children’s Bureau to support implementation of the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 in eight key areas. Each fact sheet offers a brief overview of the Fostering Connections Act’s provisions in the topic area, the allowable funding and costs for that area under the Act, and examples of the free training and technical assistance that the Children’s Bureau’s National Resource Centers and Implementation Centers can give States and Tribes in that area.

  • Working with Siblings in Foster Care: A Web-based NRCPFC Toolkit
    This new web-based toolkit from the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) provides an overview of what we know about sibling relationships for children and youth in foster care; shares children/youth’s views of siblings, as well as legal and policy definitions of siblings; and discusses how siblings are addressed in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 and Child and Family Service Reviews. Based on a review of the literature and current practice, the toolkit is organized into ten dynamic practice components. The toolkit discusses each practice component and provides related resources and policy examples. The toolkit also includes an organizational self study, which child welfare agencies can use to review their policies and practices and identify technical assistance and training needs.  

  • Ten Myths and Realities of Sibling Adoption
    This resource produced by AdoptUsKids provides real facts and statistics, and addresses misconceptions agencies may hold towards siblings and adoption. It includes a section on the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 and siblings that addresses what title IV-E agencies are required to do, have discretion to do, and are encouraged to do by the Children’s Bureau.
  • Practice Principles for the Recruitment and Retention of Kinship, Foster, and Adoptive Families for Siblings
    AdoptUsKids has developed this resource to assist agencies in creating a clear plan in the recruitment and retention of families for sibling groups. This document address the importance of keeping siblings together and then provides ten basic principles to frame an agency’s recruitment and retention practices relating to siblings. These principles are aligned with the belief that kinship, foster, and adoptive families are willing to step forward to assist the agency in keeping siblings together. A seven-step chart is listed that takes the agency from target recruitment to placement. It includes a section on the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 and siblings that addresses what title IV-E agencies are required to do, have discretion to do, and are encouraged to do by the Children’s Bureau.
  • State Strategies to Support Joint Sibling Placement
    NRCPFC surveyed States about specific strategies they have used to maximize the placement of siblings together when they enter out-of-home care. Responses provided by Alabama, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and North Dakota were compiled in this document. (Last Updated: February 2011)
  • NRCPFC Toolkit: Kinship Care and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008
    This NRCPFC web-based toolkit discusses the critical kinship care practices addressed in the Fostering Connections Act: notice to relatives, foster care licensing standards, placement with siblings, and family connections grants. The toolkit provides information and links to resources on each of these topics. The toolkit is accompanied by an organizational self-study on kinship care, which can be used to review kinship care policies and practices through the lens of the Fostering Connections Act (2008)
Resources from Collaborating Organizations
  • Fostering Connections Act: Sibling Placement Provision Chart
    The National Conference of State Legislatures has put together a chart listing state legislation that contains provisions regarding sibling placement. The chart lists the state, the bill title and a short summary of the sibling provision. (2012)
  • Maintaining Sibling Connections
    This Children’s Defense Fund publication focuses on answering questions related to siblings that may arise due to the Fostering Connections Act. It addresses nine questions: What does the new law require about the placement of siblings?; How does the new law define “sibling”?; What does “reasonable efforts” mean in the context of placing siblings together?; What does “frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction” mean?; How does this new requirement apply to siblings already in care?; What about visitation or other ongoing contact between children in care and their siblings who are not in care?; What are the criteria for determining when it is contrary to the safety or well-being of a child to be placed with a sibling?; How will American Indian children benefit from this sibling requirement?; Which states already require that reasonable efforts be made to keep siblings together?
Promising Practices and Policies from States and Tribes
  • Idaho: Standard for Sibling Placement
    The purpose of this standard is to provide direction and guidance to the Child and Family Services (CFS) program regarding sibling placements. This standard is intended to achieve statewide consistency to the development and application of CFS core services and will be implemented in the context of all applicable laws, rules, and policies. The standard will also provide a measurement for program accountability. (Revised January 2011)
  • Texas: Placing Siblings Together/Maintaining Relationships
    Texas Department of Family and Protective Services policy in CPS Handbook 4121 requires staff to attempt to place siblings together when appropriate and to maintain regular contact when siblings are separated. This policy has been strengthened over the last couple of years.