Monday, February 05, 2007

Splitting Sibilngs When One Needs Residential Care

A question from an adoption supervisor:

What is your thought regarding finding an adoptive home for a sibling group if one or two of the siblings are in RTC? Do you think we should just separate and go on, wait for the kids to get out of RTC, or ask a family to adopt the "sure thing" kids [the ones who are ready for adoption] and consider the "unknown" [the ones who aren't ready for adoption now and may or may not ever be] kids?

7 Comments:

Blogger Sbadeau said...

I think a family should be recruited for the entire sibling group. Even those in residential treatment need a family - to visit them, to communicate with them, to give them a sense of hope and a future, to be part of the treatment team, to assist in decision making - so many reasons. I talk to professionals and prospective parents about this a lot. I liken it to having a parent in a nursing home - just because a family member is in need of the services and level of care that a residential facility provides does not mean that they are no longer in need of the connections, relationships and emotional resources that only a family can provide.

7:56 AM  
Blogger jpoultney said...

I have worked in residential for Fifteen years prior to moving to adoption. I can honestly say that there are times when I would have recommended that you split up sibling groups. THere are some children that should not have to have permanency delayed due to the overwhelming needs of other siblings and honestly not a lot of families can handle the needs of a child who has been in residential. It usually takes a very dedicated family. The bright spot for me is that there is usually one person for every child that just loves them, understands them, and can works miracles that other people can't. So you do not need to give up on the child in residential and you do all that you can to maintain contact for that child with their siblings.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Martha, a Texas adoption worker says:

Yes, Go with the siblings that are free for adoption. Just make sure that the ado. family is open to contact with RTC child, and can meet the ado children's needs if they feel a parental responsibility to the RTC child.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Brenda, a manager for Collaborative Practice and Programs from Canada writes;

The last vestige of attachment that children have is their siblings. I would love to say that siblings should never be separated but I know that would prevent permanency for many children.
I would say separating siblings should only occur under very unique and special circumstances such as one child who is much older and who does not want to be adopted, or one very high special needs child who is preventing the rest of the siblings form being adopted.

If a decision to separate is made, then there must be frequent and ongoing openness between he siblings and homes that keep the children in close proximity must be paramount.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Kate, an adoptive parent comments:

Depends on why the child is in the RTC. Has the child perpetrated abuse on his siblings? Do the siblings fear him/her? Is the child in RTC much older without a close relationship to the sibs, and has never lived under the same roof? In that case, I would say to split the group.
But if it is desirable to reunite the sibs at some point, I think the best solution is to present them as a group to potential adoptive parents. The potential family should get all relevant information on all the kids, and should meet with the child in RTC. Then, the family should be able to adopt the non-RTC kids with the understanding that upon discharge from the RTC, the other child will join them as an adoptive placement (or, if it seems likely the child will be in and out of RTCs until age 18, joining the family under guardianship or as a foster child may be more appropriate).

2:25 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

I agree that a family should be recruited for the entire sibling group. While it could delay permanency for the sibs who are not in residential, the fact remains that sibling bonds need to be maintained. The sibling bond is often the strongest bond we have, and children in care rely on these bonds more than others, I would argue.
With regards to sibs who do not currently have close ties, I do not think this should allow us to split the group. We need to give them the chance to develop those bonds.
Also, with regards to one sibling who has abused the others, perhaps I am naive (or idealistic!) but I don't think this necessarily precludes placing the sibs together. With proper counseling and a committed family, it could work. (Or couldn't -- it depends on the situation, of course.)
Thank you for the opportunity to share.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Deborah Hage comments:

Those children healthy enough to be placed in an adoptive home should be placed without any expectation that the adoptive family will also accept the sibling in RTC. When the child in RTC is released then the adoptive home could be asked if it was interested in meeting the child and hearing about the child but there should be no pressure placed on the adoptive family to accept the unknown child. Otherwise you compromise the placement of healthy children in some vague hope that the child who has already demonstrated behavior unacceptable to a family will be able to join the family in the future. That is way too unsure a thing to subject healthy kids, ready to be adopted.

6:11 AM  

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