About two-thirds of the children currently in foster care have at least one sibling who is also in foster care. Sadly, many of these children are separated from their siblings in foster care. The separation typically occurs during the initial placement of children in foster care, but it can also occur as a result of adoption.
There’s nothing more precious than the bond between siblings, so these relationships should be protected at all costs. Here’s what you should know about sibling visitation rights in foster care:
The Department of Children and Families will always make an effort to place siblings within the same foster care home. But, it is not always possible to find a home that can accommodate a group of siblings. In fact, it was reported in 2015 that 25% of sibling groups in foster care in the state of New Jersey were separated. If siblings are separated, they have the right to see one another on a regular basis.
Multiple parties, including foster parents, the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), and birth parents, must work together to create a visitation plan for siblings separated in foster care. The number and duration of visits with siblings can vary depending on a number of factors, however long and frequent visits are recommended to ensure children maintain these relationships.
Children in foster care typically have the right to regular visits with their birth parents as well. It’s important to note that children do not need to visit with their birth parents and siblings at the same time. The visits can be scheduled separately if this is in the child’s best interests.
Many prospective parents only want to adopt one child, not a group of siblings. For this reason, many children are left behind in foster care after their siblings are adopted. Fortunately, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that children have the right to contact their sibling after he has been adopted. A child retains this right regardless of whether or not the sibling’s adoptive parents support the relationship between the siblings. However, the child who is attempting to make contact must prove that the sibling will suffer if their relationship does not continue.
If your children are taken from your home, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our team of family law attorneys has extensive experience helping parents reunite with their children. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.