This message was originally posted by [url=]Micki[/url].
I have a friend out on the west coast who works as a child protection worker.
She told me that it's not always in the best interest of the children to keep siblings together.
For example: a 10 yr old child feeling/acting responsible for their younger siblings, to the point that they're a parent and not even a child anymore. (the powers that be in her agency would have placed them in separate homes, if they could)
OR is it better to keep them together and give the foster parents a "heads up" on the issues so they can maintain a more normal sib relationship?
My foster children had that very issue. After they came to me the CW (not the worker who brought them to me) told me that the 3 yr old sister tends to take a caretaking role with her 2 yr old brother. (their mother had depression and depended on the 3 yr old girl to help her a lot, I guess)
But the agency didn't feel the need to separate them.
Maybe it's all up to the workers involved? Maybe it differs from agency to agency?
Any thoughts?
This message was originally posted by [url=]M2MM[/url].
I think there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It's always different depending on the children and their relationships with each other.
We have 5-yr old twins. One is hearing impaired and has some delays as a result (ie. didn't get hearing aides until she was 4). So the non-hearing impaired twin manipulates her sister pretty much all the time. Then when trouble brews she blames it on her. She portrays herself as the "good" sister and her twin as the "bad" sister.
I don't think this is very healthy and that they could benefit from some separation. Luckily they are in separate kindergarten classes, I think this will help them a great deal.
This message was originally posted by [url=]Mike[/url].
It's very common to separate siblings when there is sexualized behavior between or among them. Other times, their needs are so great that they would overburden a single foster family.
I am a strong supporter of maintaining a connection and teaching proper behavior and relationships with separated siblings. I think agencies for the most part don't do this. They simply make infrequent supervised visits that do not develop the relation. They hardly maintain the dysfunctional connection, hoping the relationship will fade, which it doesn't.
This message was originally posted by [url=]PAmom[/url].
I agree that there doesn't seem to be a cut and dried answer to this. I would guess that it'd be a case by case decsion. Perhaps though, in the case of the Parentified child that Micki used as an example, having them separated could possibly have both positive and negative outcomes.
I'm still doing my training hours and I'm not sure if I can handle a sibling group, although I would think that being separated for your sibling could be devastating :(
This message was originally posted by [url=]glk[/url].
DH and I have raised one child, separated from siblings and placed with us at age 6, and recently adopted a sibling group.
Our experience has been that separating siblings has to be done on a case-by-case basis. Our oldest son and his siblings suffered from very severe neglect and abuse. All of them have been diagnosed with RAD, PTSD, and various "minor" problems. It was the recommendation of a clinical psychologist that these children be placed separately and, having worked through our son's problems dealing with life and being a teen, I truly believe the psychologist was right. No one family would have been able to raise more than one of the children. Each was placed in a family where they were either the only child or they were the youngest (by several years) and that, too, helped them. We were able to concentrate on one child for the years that he needed us most.
Our younger children, a sibling group of 3, were not as damaged. The two older ones do have some level of attachment problems, but it does not appear to be full-blown RAD; they were not as neglected as our older son and they had some family members who were fairly consistently involved in their lives. The youngest was placed with us at 3 months of age and has been with us ever since. He is now 2 years old. We believe that keeping these children together was doable and appropriate.
The decision to separate siblings is never made lightly or in a vacuum. There are more people than just one sw making these types of decisions. If the decision has been made to separate the siblings there are generally sufficient and documented reasons for making that decision.
I have 6 kids and have suffered with severe depression and although i have always done my best there were times i just couldnt and when i asked the department for help i didnt get any or i did and they split up my kids and i now have 4 at home and 2 in care. the two in care feel as though i have given priorty to the others and are very jealous. i feel it is wrong to seperate them unless there is harmful behaviur. my eldest daughter felt responsible so i started giving her some quality time and reminding her that i was sick and that why it was nice of her to try and help i am the mum and i will look after the kids and i want to look after her if she keeps doing it then i wont be the mum anymore so she is now learning that she is a child and shoyld enjoy being just that.
Our fs(8) and his 2-brothers were placed in 2-homes together but in the end they spilt them it was to much for one family .He visit's with them every week but he act like he misses them.
I've had my 2yo fs since he was 7 months old. His half sister was born when he was a year old, but she didn't enter foster care as expected. He was sent home in Dec. 2002. He re-entered foster care in April 2003, and the baby, a few weeks later. He came back to me, but I didn't feel I could handle both him and his sister (at 2, he's a handful, & he had some health issues when he returned), so she went to another foster home. The babies don't really know each other; they only see each other for 1 hour a week during supervised visits.
I asked my cw if, should they become available to adopt, would they try to find 1 home that will take both children. She said no, once they're separated, that's pretty much it, and since I've had him for a total of 15 months, I'd have first priority to adopt him. (The agency's rule of thumb is that after 90 days, the foster parent has priority). This may be because they're so little, & the agency doesn't want to disturb them any more than necessary. (The baby girl's fm also wants to adopt just her.)
But, if they other fm -- and the children -- were amenable to it, I'd certainly allow them visits & to have a relationship.
We are in the process of adopting a 10 year old girl. Her birth mother had had two children prior to our daughter and her brother (one year older), and they were placed before our daughter was born. Our daughter and her brother were originally placed together, but were then placed separately because her brother was sexually abusing her. We are now thinking of adopting another girl, age 11, who we had fostered when her and her three brothers first entered the system in October. The plan originally was for the four to go back home, so we asked that the three (we had her and her twin 2 year old brothers, there's also an infant brother, who may have neurological problems) be moved to a long-term foster home, because our intent was to adopt, and we were just an emergency receiving home for these children (and couldn't have more children in the home because there wasn't room--since then our 23 year old son has moved out, so we have two bedrooms available for kids). Recent events have made it probable that the children won't return home. The baby is in one home, the twins are in another, and the girl is in another. They've been in these homes since January (except the baby, who has been in the same home the whole time, since he was 3-4 months old). The boys all have the same father, who is different than the girl's (she's dark-skinned, the boys are all light-skinned and very blonde). Sorry, I know this is long, but we are considering fostering, and if it ends up that way, adopting the girl. We are not prepared to take any of the boys. The case managers seem very okay with this. Are we doing the girl a disservice not insisting the children all go to one home to be adopted? We are taking the girl for a weekend trip, so we can see how the girls interact and get along. We will decide next week what the next step will be.
I think it's an individual thing whether siblings should stay together. Is there a bond between the children? Is is destructive or supportive? If an older sibling is parenting a younger one does this parenting undermine the adult parenting? If so, how much are they willing/able to changed this pattern? As an older sibling in a large family I can tell you I did alot of parenting and it is both a good and a bad thing. In the end the CWs I think try to keep kids together if it works but they are realistic. How many people can foster/adopt 4 children and provide a good environment for all the children particularily in the presence of special needs? It doesn't sound like the oldest girl has spent time with the younger ones to bond. Also due to her age she will be harder to place then the little ones. Insisting they place them together may just make the 10 year old more likely to stay in foster care. You might ask what kind of contact the CW expects her to have with her siblings in the future. One of the things I think is always kind of sad is to see someone looking for a brother or a sister as an adult that they lost contact with as a child.
When we had the three siblings, we found that the twins, being so much younger, took a lot more time and energy. We felt like the girl wasn't getting enough. She was also pretty bossy and rough with the boys, even though you could tell she loved them. I would guess that if these kids go up for adoption, the homes that have the boys would adopt them. I would think, as you said, that it would be very difficult to find a home for all four together, especially because of their very different needs. We won't make any decisions until after the weekend, and if we decide to pursue, we will talk to all the case managers and the foster family.
How did the weekend go? Did you decide to pursue? It seems like the issue of whether the older girl gets along with your current child might be the first bridge you need to cross. If the sibling you would like to adopt is bossy and rough with her younger brothers but still seems to love them it might be in everyones best interest to seperate them especially when you put the youngest boy in the mix. It would be a shame to have the older child go to a family primarily because they want the younger ones. There may also be some possible long term issues of resentment for the oldest girl if she has a different father and the boys by virtue of thier age get more attention. Just possibly. The families might know the best. It seems like you would be doing the right thing to talk to other foster family and CW too if you want to adopt this girl. I hope all goes well.
The weekend went great. The girls got along really well. We will pursue, and hopefully be able to adopt the second girl. They are one year apart in age. In think our honeymoon period with the first girl is over. We have had a problem with her crying whenever things don't go her way or she gets in trouble. She has several coping and attention-getting mechanisms that we will need to work on. We had several incidents this weekend (not related to the other girl, who was very supportive and helpful). I had to take her into the bathroom and have a talk with her. When we tell her to stop the crying, she becomes angry (while still crying)--crossed arms or clenched fists, angry face. I told her to relax her arms, breathe deeply, and stop crying. After several false starts, and at least half an hour, she finally reached for a hug and was ready to rejoin the family. We realize that she's probably a year or two behind her chronological age--emotionally, mentally, socially. She was left behind in second grade (she'll be going into the 4th this fall). I think, especially since she's a follower (NOT really a good thing), that she will emulate good things from her new "big sister." This weekend we also worked on using "our own mind." I told the girls they could take their cups with them in the car. Our 10 year old grabbed hers, saw that the 11 year old didn't, and started to put it back. I reminded her to use her own mind. It's going to be a lot of work, but I know it'll all be worth it!