Sibling Bill of Rights

Download the full Sibling Bill of Rights here!

Press release July 2012:
New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors
and New England Youth Coalition Unite to Create Siblings Bill of Rights

WHY the Bill Was Created:

 The Bill was developed in recognition of the importance and value of sibling relationships and the need for their preservation. It is intended to guide the New England Child Welfare agencies in the delivery of care and services to the 18,600 children in their custody. The members of NEYC are very hopeful that the Siblings Bill of Rights will help guide agencies and families toward more sibling contact.

Inspired By:

The Siblings Bill of Rights was inspired by the stories of youth in foster care across the region, many of whom have permanently lost touch with their brothers and sisters.  Even in the positive situations where foster youth are adopted, contact is left to the discretion of adoptive families.  NEYC spearheaded the Bill’s creation because they felt strongly that the foster care systems in New England needed to help assure that the sibling bond is protected. Over the past year the youth and agency leaders have been collaborating on the Bill which illuminates the importance of sibling relationships and outlines ten basic rights for foster children beginning with the notion that each foster child should ideally be placed with their siblings.
“The importance of sibling bonds can not be underestimated, not only in childhood, but lifelong. Too often, children in foster care lose access to siblings, and thus lose this important source of support and identity. Child Welfare leaders in New England are committed to do all we can to ensure that these bonds are preserved and strengthened. NEACWCD is pleased to join with NEYC to sign the Siblings Bill of Rights. We congratulate the Coalition for their effective advocacy in moving this forward,” said Cindy Walcott, President of NEACWCD, and Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Family Services Division.
Rodeline Saint Felix, a youth leader from Rhode Island, agreed saying: “I think the development and completion of the Bill of Rights was absolutely groundbreaking and it gave us, the youth, a chance to really see the product of our hard work.”

Implementation:

Spreading the word:

  • Members of NEYC have also presented the Bill at the Child Welfare League of America conference in Washington D.C., at the National Pathways to Adulthood Conference in New Orleans and the NEFCA Foster Parent Conference in ME.
Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky

Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky

For more information:
Contact Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky (NEYC Coordinator) at 617-278-4272 or gkoshinsky@jbcc.harvard.edu.
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