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Advocate Tip:  Sibling Bonding

Siblings in CPS Care

Children in foster care and adoptive families have some unique challenges when it comes to working with siblings.  Although some adoptive families know from experience that sibling bonds do form regardless of biological connection, children may actually have biological siblings or half-siblings from whom they are separated when they are removed from their home. However, siblings that remain in contact after removal can continue to develop healthy bonds that help them get through the difficult time as a child in conservatorship of the State.  As child Advocates, it’s important we recognize the significance of the sibling bond, no matter what the age of the children involved, and that we take steps to ensure the children on our cases continue with their sibling relationship while in care. 

Ways to Advocate for Siblings

While appointed as a child Advocate on a legal CPS case, there are multiple things you can do to help maintain a healthy sibling bond for your children.  Here are some tips for how to impact their relationships and development as a sibling group:

Remember that children begin to form bonds with others at a very early age
Ideally, seek permanent placements for entire sibling groups
When siblings are not placed together, advocate for frequent sibling visits
Facilitate access through outings in the community
Understand that older siblings may easily take on the caretaker role
Allow opportunities for older siblings to “act like a kid”
Recommend therapy for all children who are separated from their siblings

Training Questions:

  1. Why is maintaining the sibling bond difficult for children in CPS custody? 
  2. How can you as a child advocate help maintain the sibling bond?
  3. T or F:  Children in CPS care can continue to develop a sibling bond.

Source:  The Center for Adoption Support & Education

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Elisabeth Reise at