The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) understands the importance of a child’s relationship with his or her brothers and sisters. Under Illinois law, DCFS must help support relationships between siblings for children who are in or have left its care, whenever possible and in the child’s and siblings’ best interests. Often siblings are placed together; however, that isn’t always possible – or one brother or sister may have to be moved into a new home.
When it is possible and in the best interests of the child and his or her siblings:
- Siblings will be placed together in the same home, even if a child enters care after other sibling(s) came into foster care or were adopted through DCFS;
- The caseworker must explain why a child is not placed in the same home with his or her sibling(s);
- Children will be placed with caregivers who will support frequent sibling contact and visits;
- Children in foster care will be told where their siblings are living (including any placement changes) and how to contact them, even if parental rights are terminated;
- If one of the siblings is being adopted through DCFS or placed in private guardianship, the caseworker will talk with the adoptive parents or guardians about a plan for continued contact or visits among the siblings after the adoption or change in guardianship; and
- When a sibling becomes an adult and other siblings are in DCFS care, or have been adopted through DCFS or placed in private guardianship, the permanency caseworker will encourage the adult sibling, current caregiver, adoptive parent or private guardian to allow contact and visitation among all the siblings.
For more information about how the department supports sibling relationships and the rights of youth, their parents and their caregivers, read the DCFS publication How to Connect with Your Brothers and Sisters in English or en español.