The measure, which was proposed by the Department of Children and Families’ Youth Council, stipulates that all foster children must be given their siblings’ email addresses, phone numbers, and residential addresses.
A new bill approved by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy grants foster care youngsters the legal right to visit their siblings.
Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Siblings Bill of Rights, which was submitted by the Department of Children and Families Youth Council in January.
In May of 2013, the youth council uploaded a YouTube video describing the Bill of Rights. Alisson, one of the speakers, stated, “The Sibling Bill of Rights is significant to me because siblings have a unique bond. Who understands and relates to you more than your sister, especially in chaotic situations? It is a partnership that will last your entire life. For its expansion, we must remain together.”
There were no rules barring siblings from reconnecting; but, foster parents, the Department of Child Protection and Permanency, and birth parents were required to construct a visitation plan.
Tawant to Brown, a member of the DCF Youth Council, stated, “The Sibling Bill of Rights is predicated on the simple notion that sibling connections are vital and that the child welfare system should do everything in its power to maintain such relationships.” “By incorporating protections for sibling ties into New Jersey law, we are sending a clear statement that this Administration cherishes these bonds and recognises their significance for the emotional safety and well-being of children in care.”
According to NJ.com, in 2020, the state Department of Children and Families established a council comprised of twenty teenagers and young adults ages 14 to 23 who had lived in foster care to better comprehend their experiences.
In October of last year, according to data from the Department of Children and Families, 3,099 children and youth under the age of 21 were in foster care, and 54% had at least one sibling. October. According to a study by Youngsters and Families Commissioner Christine Beyer, as of October 2022, 79 percent of children with siblings got frequent visits.
Beyer stated, “This bill exemplifies the strength of shared leadership and the significance of having those with lived experience play a significant role at the table.”
The statute requires the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency to ensure that children and their siblings maintain regular contact. For instance, all children must be given their siblings’ email addresses, phone numbers, and residential addresses.
In addition, siblings will be permitted to participate in any meetings about their siblings’ futures.
In 2019, Child Welfare Information produced a bulletin on sibling concerns in foster care, stating that connections with siblings can provide foster children with a sense of security and comfort.
The conclusion of the bulletin was that “maintaining and improving sibling relationships is a crucial component of child well-being and permanence outcomes.”