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Siblings in Foster Care Hope to Stay Together

One of our greatest needs is to license more Wisconsin foster parents to care for sibling groups. We continue to receive referrals from counties across Wisconsin, and more often than not, we do not have foster homes available in the right location to meet the needs of the children. Fostering siblings requires great flexibility and the ability to meet younger kids where they are while getting on a path toward healing. Meet Benjamin, Adam, and Thomas, three little brothers desperate for a foster home to keep them together and handle their elevated needs. 

Siblings in foster care need structure, stability, and flexibility.

This sibling group of three brothers is currently placed with their maternal aunt. She cannot maintain the children in her care due to their aggressive behaviors, level of trauma, and lack of structure and routine. The aunt has no parental experience and limited resources. She is only 24 years old. Her primary support person is her 19-year-old live-in boyfriend. The sibling group had resided with the aunt for three months, before that, they lived with their maternal grandmother, their legal guardian.

The maternal grandmother’s recent homelessness and mental and physical health ailments left the boys needing placement and CPS intervention. Thus, the aunt was located and agreed to care for the boys.

Boy 1

Benjamin is the oldest child. He is a wise 9-year-old. However, he has expressed that he does not always feel safe at his aunt’s home. As a result, he has asked to live with respite providers instead of his maternal aunt. Likewise, 6-year-old Thomas also expresses his desire to live elsewhere.

The Department has received two CPS reports alleging physical abuse of the children since their placement in the aunt’s home.  The most recent report came in over a weekend after the weekend respite provider found large bruises on Thomas' back.

All three boys were interviewed by CPS and expressed their safety concerns regarding their aunt. The boys are not returning at this time as an investigation is in pursuit, and the aunt has verbalized an inability to maintain the three boys. It is unknown what the investigation will uncover.

Foster parents caring for siblings must be resilient.

Benjamin is believed to be the most delayed or behind socially and academically. When compared to his younger brothers. The middle brother, Adam, is eight years old and has been an open book about his feelings and things going on in the home. Adam struggles with the most aggressive behaviors historically (he was kicked out of daycare at a young age), but his involvement with CCS (Comprehensive Community Services) over the past year has shown that he has been able to calm himself, take direction, and have less aggressive behaviors.

When initially placed with the aunt, it is reported that Thomas displayed aggression towards his youngest sibling, Danny, who has been placed with his maternal aunt since birth. Danny is 18 months old (not included in the sibling group of 3 needing placement). Thomas does not show this aggressive behavior while in the care of the regular respite provider. It is believed that Thomas may have been aggressive towards Danny because while in his aunt’s home, Danny is the “baby,” In contrast, Thomas is used to being “the baby” of the family while previously raised by his maternal grandmother.

Thomas has flourished while in respite care with the structure and attention he is provided.

Kids in foster care need to feel safe.

The Department is not looking for placement of Danny as the maternal aunt can adequately provide care for him independently of his three older siblings. The aunt describes that the boys are angry. She feels they are angry because living with their maternal grandmother was not healthy or safe emotionally. However, each boy does great one-on-one and when receiving positive attention and parenting. She reports that the boys would do best if they could remain together. The aunt would like to remain involved as an auntie to the boys but cannot remain a full-time caregiver for all four siblings.

Griese boy

All three boys are participating in individual therapy.  Benjamin and Thomas also have an IEP. All support services would continue in a new foster home.

The boys just transitioned to a new school in January as the aunt could not transport the boys over 30 miles to the school near the grandmother's previous home. Moving to another new school will be difficult, but the transition may go well if structure and stability are present in a new home.

None of the boys are on medication at this time. There are no known health concerns. The aunt would like to set up regular visits with the boys so they can see their baby brother.

Kids are referred to CCR every day. We need your help.

  • CCR receives 45-50 referrals each month for kids like Benjamin, Adam, and Thomas. Unfortunately, we do not have enough foster homes. We must have the right home in the right location. If there are biological visits with the family, the foster home must be relatively close to the family to ensure smooth transportation to visits. We want to match children with the best foster family where healing can happen.
  • We did not have a match for the brothers, so the referring county continued its search. We want to license more families with the ability and desire to foster sibling groups. If you want to learn more or get answers to your fostering questions, please visit more pages on our website or contact us. We are happy to speak with you.

*This blog series highlights actual referrals received. Names are changed to protect privacy.

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