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SIBLING CONNECTION

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SIBLING CONNECTION

  • “People may think that you are a big brat, but to me you are just a big bother, you can be overprotective but hey I still love you. Thank you for lighting up my life and always being there for me. Sometimes you say for me not to love you, but I always will no matter what. U fill my heart with love and joy”

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING DEFINITION; the obvious

  • Brother or a sister; wordreference.com

  • One of two or more individuals having one common parent; Merriam Webster

  • …usually taken to mean that the two people are genetically very close, though it is not always necessarily the case, i.e. an adoption. In most societies throughout the world siblings will usually grow up in the same household. This closeness is marked with the development of strong emotional associations between them; Wikipedia

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING DEFINITION; the law

  • "Biological Sibling” means “A sibling, by birth; of an adopted person.” “A brother, sister, or half-sibling of a child who is being placed in foster care or being placed for adoption.”

  • “Sibling Group” means “biological siblings who have been raised together or have lived together.”

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING DEFINITION; the memory

SHARE YOUR MEMORY……

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING DEFINITION; the emotion

SHARE YOUR EMOTION……

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


REALITY CHECK

  • Almost 600,000 youth in foster care

  • 75% are separated from at least one sibling

  • + those separated by other out-of- home care

  • = countless youth void of the people who shape their lives

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


“Dear David, I know we’ve been through rough times. Such as getting separated. I miss you a lot. You’re the best brother a person could have. You’re a special gift from G-d. xoxoxoxo,”

Love, Christina”

WHY ARE SIBLINGS SEPARATED?

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


Parentified Child

Special Needs

Sibling Rivalry

Number of siblings in the family

Different fathers

Come into the system at different times

Abuse

Adoption Potential

WHY ARE SIBLINGS SEPARATED?

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


PARENTIFIED CHILD; REASON

  • Stephen:  "I want to tell you how much I care, but I am not always there.  I want to show you that your my homie, but sometimes I can't.  You’re in my mind and heart forever, never forget that.  I love you."  Shantele

  • Separate to give him/her a chance to be a child

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


PARENTIFIED CHILD; REASONABLE?

“I love you for ever and ever. It’s great having a big sister who’s a worry wart and tries to protect me. Love Lots,” Baby Laura

  • Younger siblings placed in unfamiliar home without parents – and – older siblings

  • Older sibling feels responsible – loses identity – role

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SPECIAL NEEDS; REASON

“You are a very special brother. Even though we fight a lot, I still love you. I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have a brother like you. Because you keep me full of funniness. Like playing cars, and digging in the dirt and how you joke. You are my very nice big brother.” Love, Brooke

  • Needs to receive more focused attention

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SPECIAL NEEDS; REASONABLE?

  • With siblings, they will receive more thoughtful, maybe knowledgable, attention

  • Placement alone distorts sense of place in family

  • Placement with other youth with special needs may = less attention

  • Siblings provide support and appropriate behavior

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING RIVALTY; REASON

“Destiny: I love you no matter what and keep your head up and never give up and remember you can do anything if you put your mind into it; always keep an open mind. I know sometimes we fuss and fight. You are always going to be my lil sister and my best friend who I am always going to love you no matter what. Reach for your goals in life. I love you,” Jasmine

  • Separate to cease or prevent sibling rivalry

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING RIVALRY; REASONABLE?

  • Sibling rivalry is a part of sibling connection – a fact of life

  • Unconditional love

  • Learn to handle conflict

  • Learn to resolve differences

  • Understanding and acceptance

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN FAMILY; REASON

  • “Always remember that I will love and cherish you forever and will always be there for you through thick and thin. Our sisterly bond will never be broken…I love you with all my heart and soul. You are the most important person to me. Always remember that you are special and you are greatly loved,” Kayla

  • There are too many children to place together – can’t find a home

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN FAMILY; REASONABLE?

  • Recruitment

  • Training

  • Waivers

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


DIFFERENT FATHERS; REASON

“Your love and strength keeps this family together. Your glowing smile brightens my day. You are my role model which I love so much. I wonder how one could speak of such. You’re always optimistic and treat others in such a kind way, that’s why I’m here to say, I love you,” Tammy

  • Biology

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


DIFFERENT FATHERS; REASONABLE?

  • Talk about the sibling relationship

  • Consideration

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


COME INTO SYSTEM AT DIFFERENT TIMES; REASON

“I love you a lot. You’re the best sister I ever had. Even though we can’t always visit each other I stll love you. I will alwys have a special place in my heart for you. Don’t forget I will always love you. Everyday I shed a tear because I love you, love you!” Ramon

  • Birth order

  • New challenges

  • Subsequent move

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


COME INTO SYSTEM AT DIFFERENT TIMES;REASONABLE?

  • Follow the paper trail

  • Train and educate

  • Babies experience depression

  • Disconnect to stability

  • Waivers

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


ABUSE; REASON

“I know we have had our difficulties in the past, but maybe we can get past our differences. Sorry I’m so mean to you. I want you to know I really, no joke, no lie, love you and care about you.” Barbara

  • Physical, sexual, emotional

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


ABUSE;REASONABLE?

  • May inflict abuse on another victim

  • Evaluate sibling rivalry versus sibling hostilities

  • Evaluate resources

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


ADOPTION POTENTIAL; REASON

  • “I miss seeing you and hanging out with you. I like when we laugh and joke around together. I wish I could see you everyday. I want to be like you when I grow up especially when I am 18. I love my big bro,” Love, Jamal

  •  It is more likely that younger children will be adopted; older children will experience long-term foster care

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


ADOPTION POTENTIAL; REASONABLE?

  • Teen and adult adoptions are on the rise

  • Siblings ‘will’ reunite; some older intervening to become guardians for younger siblings

  • ¼ vs. ¾ - memories for the future

  • Deserving of family - together

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


2006, “The Science of Siblings” Time - July issue.

  • From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings may be the only people we'll ever know who truly qualify as partners for life (Jeffrey Kluger.)

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING LIFE SPAN

  • Five Groups

  • 1. Early childhood

  • 2. Early/elementary

  • 3. Adolescence

  • 4. Adulthood

  • 5. Old Age

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING LIFE SPAN

  • Early childhood

  • Constant companions and playmates - influence social and cognitive learning – skills of helping, sharing and cooperating

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING LIFE SPAN

  • Early/elementary

  • Interaction with siblings extend beyond home to influence interactions with peers

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING LIFE SPAN

  • Adolesence; ebb and flow of independence and individuality; relationship taken for granted; space yet comfort in knowing they exist

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING LIFE SPAN

  • Adulthood

  • While ‘own families’ may take priority - guidance, support and sharing comes from siblings

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING LIFE SPAN

  • Old Age

  • Siblings become companions again, sometimes even living together when their own kids move on

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


PRACTICE; MAKES CONNECTION

  • Determine current location of all siblings at intake

  • Assume all siblings should be placed together

  • If siblings are separated due to home availability, do not dismiss future inclusion under same roof

  • If siblings are separted due to careprovider request, determine motive and intention

  • Ask the children their preference and reasons

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


PRACTICE; MUSTS

  • One worker

  • Location

  • Education

  • Connection

  • Visitation

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING

  • Recruit specifically for siblings; avoid filling individual beds

  • Discuss logistics and organization

  • Understand age span

  • Recognize sibling rivalry

  • Continue family traditions

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING BILL OF RIGHTS

  • Requires that the child welfare agency prepare a description of efforts made to keep siblings together and/or provide reasons siblings are not placed together

  • Provisions for post-permanency visits with siblings

  • Requires the child welfare agency and/or court to consider siblings in placement and/or permanency planning

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


SIBLING BILL OF RIGHTS

  • Provides for an exemption from limits on the size of a foster home to accommodate placement of a sibling group

  • Statement of legislative intent to support sibling relationships

  • Right to, and provision for, maintaining contact

  • Sibling relationship considered in determining "best interest"

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


NATIONAL SIBLING CONNECTION DAY, March 1, 2006

  • Whereas sibling relationships are among the longest lasting and most significant relationships in life;

  • Whereas brothers and sisters share history, memories, and traditions that bind them together as family;

  • Whereas it is estimated that over 65 percent of children in foster care have siblings, and are often separated when they are placed in the foster care system, adopted, or confronted with different kinship placements;

  • Whereas children in foster care have a greater risk of emotional disturbance, difficulties in school, and problems with relationships than their peers;

  • Whereas the separation of siblings as children causes additional grief and loss;

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


NATIONAL SIBLING CONNECTION DAY

  • Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) designates March 1, 2006, as `Siblings Connection Day';

  • (2) encourages the people of the United States to celebrate sibling relationships on this day; and

  • (3) supports efforts to respect and preserve those sibling relationships that are at risk of being disrupted due to the placement of children into the foster care system.

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


WHEREAS, The policy of the State of Illinois mandates that contact be maintained between siblings pre-termination while they are in foster care or youth in care and provides for possible contact post majority via the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange

13 states provide specific acceptable reasons for separating siblings

32 states address sibling visitation in policies

14 states have consent decrees mandating sibling visitation after adoption

5 states allow judges to order sibling visitation over the adoptive parent’s suggestions

STATES; LISTEN TO YOUTH

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


Most frequent visitation = Weekly Visits

One hour a week

52 weeks a year

52 hours

JUST OVER TWO DAYS A YEAR

TWO DAYS = CONNECTION?

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


Act to Support Sibling Rights in Child Welfare Custody Matters: Kala Clark

2007; siblings’ right to regularly scheduled visits whenever reasonable and practical and in the best interests of the children!

“I love you 4ever and always. I wish that I could do a lot of stuff with you. Remember the good dayz? I wish that it could be like that. I love you with all my heart. I wish that we could be best friends. I will be glad if I could see you more. Love always and forever,” Jess

MAINE

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


Rights of older siblings to file suit for access to a younger sibling….custody of younger

“Hey bro- I think of you all the time. When I see you, you make me laugh. I have lots of fun. Hey maybe some day when you are 18 you can move in with me, okay? You are the best, my best friend, my best brother Number #1,” From Rebecca

YOUNG - ADULTS

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law; www.abanet.org/child/about

Camp To Belong; www.camptobelong.org

Casey Family Programs; www.casey.org

National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning; www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp

Neighbor to Neighbor; www.hullhouse.org

Neighbor to Family; www.ntf.org

Susan Dougherty; susan@doughertyconsultants.com

Youth Leadership Advisory Team; www.ylat.org

RESOURCES AND SPECIAL THANKS

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


When I think of the closeness we share now…

I wish we would have known each other when we were kids…

LYNN’S SENTIMENT

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


S = Personally; SHARE

Professionally; sense of belonging

I = Personally; INSPIRE

Professionally; imagine

B = Personally; BIRTHDAY

Professionally; birthday

SIB ACTION PLAN

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other's hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time. 

~Clara Ortega

GIVE SIBLINGS THEIR RIGHT TO REUNITE®

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


Lynn Price, Ashoka Fellow

Social Entrepreneur, Speaker and Author

9445 Sand Hill Place

Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

888-7BELONG

303-791-0915

Lynn@camptobelong.org

www.camptobelong.org

www.lynnprice.com

Karyn Schimmels, M.P.A.

Camp To Belong Volunteer Advisory Board Member and Public Child Welfare state employee

8905 Southwest Avon Court

Tigard, OR 97224

503-945-6646

Karyn.Schimmels@state.or.us

Real Belonging; Give Siblings Their Right to Reunite, and Sibling Bracelet available on website

GIVE SIBLINGS THEIR RIGHT TO REUNITE®

Lynn Price and Karyn Schimmels, 2006


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