02 May Sibling Connections In Foster Care, Why They’re Important
Sibling Connections In Foster Care are a Lifeline to Success
Sibling Connections Interview Shows Importance
Sibling connections in foster care are no different. Lura Landon, the FCAA Chapter President for Washington State, shared her experience of entering foster care with her two sisters.
“When I was six, I was placed into my first foster home with my older and younger sister,” Lura said. “My older sister had trouble adjusting and was eventually moved to another home.”
Lura would remain in the same home with her younger sister but had little contact with her older sister. “After we initially split, there were no phone calls or visits,” Lura said. “Once we regained contact, I saw her once a year.”
The summer before 9th grade, Lura moved to another foster home after a conflict in her kinship placement. Her younger sister remained in the home. Lura would finish high school without either of her sisters living with her.
“After that, I saw my younger sister twice in four years,” Lura said. “I worked and hung out with friends to avoid thinking about being away from my sisters and family.”
Lura went on to graduate high school and start her own family. She reconnected with her sisters and lived with them at different times in her adulthood. Lura says a number of conflicts came up between her and her sisters which led to no contact with them.
“I hope we are able to resolve our differences,” Lura said. “It’s important to have a connection with one’s siblings.”
It is estimated that 85% of children entering foster care have siblings. For sibling groups who enter care together, the longer they remain, the more likely they are to be separated. Sibling connections while in care help children to be more resilient and maintain family bonds. More importantly, sibling relationships carry over into adulthood, lasting a lifetime.
“The fact my sisters and I had a connection prior to foster care is significant and should have been supported through more organic visitation and phone calls,” Lura said. “This is why sibling connections are one of our advocacy pillars for FCAA.”
Lura points out the power of sibling connections by mentioning FCAA siblings who went through foster care together. They attend chapter meetings, participate in FosterWalks and support other members. “We advocate changing policy and practice for our brothers and sisters in care,” Lura said. “This is something that FCAA has always done.”
For more information on supporting sibling connections visit https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/siblingissues/.