On Tuesday, Rep. Peggy Bennett presented Bill HF3626 that aims to promote healthy relationships between siblings in foster care through visits, phone calls, and holiday gatherings. It’s not always possible for siblings to be placed under the same roof, so this bill could be very beneficial to keep that bond alive. According to a press release by Bennett, “This bill seeks to help those children who are among the most vulnerable in our society—our foster kids. We all know how important our siblings are to us, and foster kids are no different. Children in foster care already face difficulties that are tough to imagine, and I think this bill can help ease these hardships and promote healthy growth by assisting these kids in staying connected to their siblings as much as possible.”
Bennett spoke with a group of foster kids who expressed how helpful the bill would be. She said, “They’re in a tough place and are going through times, and anything I can do to help make their lives a little bit better…it’s kind of an honor to do that. They’re a good group to work with.”
Bennett has many supporters of the bill including Sasha Martin and Vivianna Castillo-Roybal who have been in foster care. They spoke on Tuesday in favor of the bill. In addition, support has been garnered from foster kids and foster parents alike. Bennett said, “Sasha and Vivianna were so brave to come to St. Paul to tell their story and to advocate for this bill. Their testimony helped drive home how important this legislation is in helping out young people in foster care maintain the important family relationships with their siblings.”
The Human Services Reform Committee passed the bill and referred it to the Health and Human Services Committee when Bennett has requested a hearing.