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Sib-Link®

Connecting siblings who are in different foster placements.

 

Nearly two-thirds of the children in the U.S. foster care system have one or more siblings in foster care.

In many States, over half of sibling groups are separated and placed in different homes — even sometimes different counties — as there are not enough foster homes that can take in a full sibling set. In foster care, social service caseworkers help siblings visit each other regularly. Still, some siblings lose touch as placements change and time passes.

30

sibling sets served


240

sibling visits during 2019


Children long for their siblings.

Sib-Link® exists because sibling bonds are crucial to child development and adjustment.

We come alongside social service agencies to enhance monthly visitation. Each month, Sib-Link® provides fun and engaging sibling visits that strengthen lifelong bonds. Sibling groups from two, three, and four different placements gather together to celebrate birthdays and graduations, visit parks and museums, and enjoy each other’s company through monthly outings together.

As children consistently see each other and build lasting memories, their anxiety lessens. Caregivers get to know one another, and barriers fall away. Children who are separated by living arrangements eventually form deeper connections that go beyond the monthly visits and develop into lifelong bonds.

  • Erin
    Sib-Link is VITAL in keeping siblings actively connected to each other during an intense and stressful time. Not only do my children get to see each other and reconnect, for a brief moment they get to forget their circumstances and just be kids together, not "foster kids."
    Erin
    Guardian ad Litem
  • Belle (Age 17)
    The whole experience of Sib-Link has been so positive. Everything in my life has had so much negativity, so this really stands out.
    Belle (Age 17)
  • Jude (Age 16)
    At sibling visits, I feel like we can be ourselves, and we didn’t get that from other people in foster care.
    Jude (Age 16)
  • Markaja
    I was 17 and we were all living in a group home. I left first. It hurt. I felt like that was harder being separate from my siblings than being in the system the whole time.
    Markaja
    Foster Care Alumni
  • Ryan

    This was the best day ever! When can I see him again?

    Ryan
    child, age 5
  • Erinne

    I can’t believe you’re here. I thought I lost you.

    Erinne
    child, age 8
  • Rhonda

    I LOVE Sib-Link® because it connects children with each other and promotes family bonding. Some children lack hope within to propel themselves forward with achieving life’s goals. I feel that Sib-Link® gives them this hope.

    Rhonda
    caseworker

Do you know someone who could benefit from Sib-Link®? Refer them!

If ONE of the children you know lives in or has an open case in one of the counties above, you are encouraged to complete a referral. Anyone can complete a referral for Sib-Link®. This includes case workers, CASA/GALs, foster parents, group home staff, family members, friends, and mentors.

Please include as much information as you know about the child. Once a referral is received, our team will contact the case worker to determine if the children are appropriate for Sib-Link® sibling visits.

Areas of Service

South Carolina (Statewide, Virtual)
Anderson, SC
Greenville, SC
Pickens, SC
Spartanburg, SC
Adams, CO
Denver, CO

1How often do siblings see each other?
Children and youth enrolled in Sib-Link® visit with each other monthly. Visits are coordinated by the Sib-Link® Program Manager, in cooperation with the children’s case team, which includes the case worker, CASA/GAL, and caregivers.
2Who is involved in the visits?
Two adults are required to be present during each visit. The first adult is the Sib-Link® Program Manager, and the second adult is often the case worker, CASA/GAL, or one of the children’s caregivers. Foster and adoptive parents are encouraged to participate in visits if they wish to, but it is not required. After each visit, reports are sent to the case team with an update on how the visit went, and CASA volunteers review of the program regularly.
3Where do visits take place?
Visits take place in fun, child-friendly settings within the community. Settings vary for each sibling group and are usually based on the children’s interests, location, and any special occasions going on within the family unit like birthdays, graduations, or other meaningful life events. Groups often gather at parks, museums, amusement parks, and other attractions that are fun for kids. These types of settings provide a natural place for children to connect, play, and build meaningful memories together.
4How are children transported?
Most often, the Sib-Link® Program Manager transports the children to and from visits. Sometimes, case workers and caregivers can help with transporting one or more of the siblings who live in faraway settings.
5What is required for a child to participate?
Our focus is on sibling sets whose parents struggle to see their children. This often means a concurrent permanency plan is in the works or parental rights may be terminated in the future.
6When do visits end?
Sibling visits are designed for children in foster care. However, many times, one child in a sibling group will exit foster care through adoption or reunification, while other children remain in foster care. When this happens, Sib-Link® visits can continue for the entire sibling group as long as caregivers are willing and supporting. Sibling visits end when all children are no longer in foster care.
7How are visits paid for?
Sib-Link® sibling visits are funded like the rest of the work of Fostering Great Ideas®, through grants as well as individual and corporate giving. Some individuals have chosen to give the gift of siblings visits to a sibling set for a year at $360.
 

Do you want to know more about Sib-Link®?

Please contact us with any questions you have about this Great Idea, including how you can bring it to your own community.

 

Sib-Link® Events

Siblings with Santa®

The holiday season can be a hard time for children in foster care who are separated from their families. While many foster parents include children in their own traditions and try to make happy moments together, it is never the same as being at home. To bring children comfort during this time, we put special emphasis into a Christmas sibling gathering.

During Siblings with Santa®, children gather to create new memories with their siblings while doing festive activities. Santa shows up to grant wishes and take pictures with the kids. Gingerbread houses are made, and hot cocoa is sipped. It’s a simple Christmas party that brings joy and cheer at a time that’s usually filled with grief for children separated from their families.

Not only is this my favorite time of year, but being able to tell my brother Merry Christmas in person made it so much more special.

Chris, Sib-Link client

Holidays can be extremely hard for kids who have been separated from their families. So being able to attend an event like Siblings With Santa together creates a memory that these kids will never forget.

Ebony, Sib-Link Program Manager

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