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“Keeping siblings in foster care connected is important. It keeps their identity real for them.”

Jennifer Carter

Program Coordinator, Project Visitation, Family Programs Hawaii in Hilo

All children deserve to build childhood memories with their siblings. The sibling bond can be the strongest and longest relationship of a person’s life, commonly surpassing the relationship between a child and parent. Siblings can be your strongest allies throughout your life, yet siblings are often taken for granted or the relationship not sufficiently nurtured.

Friday, April 10, marks Siblings Day, a national holiday celebrating the unique relationship between brothers and sisters. Siblings Day was started by Claudia Evart 18 years ago to honor the memory of her two siblings, both of whom died at early ages.

The impact of sibling relationships is even more significant for children involved in foster care, who are already suffering from irreconcilable lifelong grief and loss. Many children placed in foster care are isolated from sibling support, which is crucial especially for an older sibling who can offer help and security.

Family Programs Hawaii understands the importance of sibling relationships. One aspect of Family Programs Hawaii is Project Visitation, which helps to maintain relationships between brothers and sisters living in separate foster homes. Visits are facilitated by volunteers who bring siblings together to give them a chance to strengthen their bonds and connect to one another. These get-togethers include outings such as bowling, swimming, boating, pizza nights and an annual three-day sibling camp.