Open Arms Adoptions
KST By Adoption: Keeping Siblings Together
The message about the need for additional foster parents in NE Ohio is wide-spread, and for good reason! From 2016 – 2017, there was a 23% increase state-wide in the number of children entering foster care. What isn’t as well known, is the fact that about 25% of those children are never able to return home, becoming available for adoption.
Two-thirds of the over 4,000 children in the Ohio foster care system that are available to be adopted are part of a sibling group. Often, brothers and sisters are separated in foster care and adoption because there aren’t families willing to take on more than one child. One of the primary issues preventing siblings from being placed together is a lack of awareness of this need. Our goal is to create a program to raise awareness, “recruit” and develop families who are able to provide permanent homes where these siblings will be able to finish growing up together in their forever family. Our vision is to develop communities that embrace the belief that siblings deserve to grow up together, who step up to meet that need and then who support one another (with the assistance of the agency and program administrator).
We envision developing a community that works to find and embrace the families who are adopting sibling groups. Our agency and program administrator will collaborate with the community to provide education, support, and other adoption related services to those families. This will require community-based partnerships to assist in identification and development of families who can fill this need as well as to provide meeting space, material support, etc. We will develop community-based training specifically for families seeking to adopt siblings—we will bring the training to the community as opposed to expecting families to travel to the agency. Another natural outcome of our program will be that community-based support groups for families created through adoption will naturally build from this system.
Although we are a young organization (founded in 2015), our commitment to sibling groups has already had positive results. Since 2016 we have been able to place more than 18 children from the foster care system in their forever families. This includes four sibling groups of 3 and one sibling group of 2. Most of these children were separated in foster care and reunited in adoption. With the ability to formalize this program, we expect these numbers to triple over the next year.