Together We Rise – Fostering With the Goal of Keeping Siblings Together

Currently, there is a great need for both foster and adoptive parents, and an even greater need for foster and adoptive parents who are willing to accept placement of sibling groups that can have a wide age range.

This week’s Together We Rise article is brought to you in partnership with Stark JFS.

Why is the current need for foster homes so urgent?

In 2020, the average number of children in foster care in Stark County was about 366, and each month, there were approximately 22 children that needed foster placement. As of January 4th, 2021, there are 365 children in agency custody through Stark County JFS.

Why is it important to keep sibling groups together? 

Most of the children needing placement are part of a sibling group, most commonly, a sibling group of 2. Studies show that there are great benefits to keeping siblings together when they are placed into foster care. Children in foster care already face great unknowns with limited to no contact with biological parents and relatives. Keeping siblings together can assist with creating a sense of safety and security in difficult, scary situations. A Family For Every Child states, “The current literature states that mental and emotional wellbeing linked to the positive implications of sibling’s relationships is the most critical benefit to foster siblings. According to Hegar & Rosenthal, 2011, children were reported to feel closer and more comfortable when living with their siblings at their foster parent’s home. Being close to a sibling improves the sense of belonging. Siblings living in different foster care units were reported to have more unstable lives.”

Sibling who are placed together show:

  • Better ability to cope as siblings can act as emotional support after times of trauma or abuse
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Stronger relationships
  • Improved academic performance
  • Overall, more positive behavior
  • Better ability to deal with routine issues
  • More success as adults

On the website, A Family For Every Child, it is reported that, Despite individual circumstances and characteristics, the amount of access children have with their siblings plays a significant role in adjusting to the separation associated with foster care. Being attached to a foster family along with a sibling is extremely important to develop and improve their individual mental health and overall emotional support.”

Other important information regarding children in foster care through Stark County JFS

  • When a child enters foster care, the goal is to help the family so the child can return home.  The average time spent in foster care is about one year, but the time varies from case to case.
  • The average age of children in foster care is 7 years-old.
  • At Stark County JFS, the greatest need is for foster parents who can take school aged kids, specifically, 6 years-old and older, and foster parents who can take sibling groups.
  • Sometimes, brothers and sisters get separated when placed in foster care because a home cannot be found for the entire sibling group. 
  • There is also a need to keep children placed in the communities they live. Sometimes, children are removed from their homes and then placed out of Stark County because there are no available foster homes within the county they came from.
  • We need foster homes in Stark County for children who have experienced trauma and are in need of a temporary, out of home placement.

Are you wanting to help a child in your community? Do you feel you can meet this need in Stark County? You can find more information on their website at starkjfs.org or call the inquiry line at 330-451-8789.

 

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