Keeping Siblings Connected: Project Visitation

Project Visitation (PV) was created to ensure that siblings in Hawaii’s foster care system maintain their connection through in-person visitations and events. Despite the State’s determination and efforts to keep siblings together while in care, sometimes, siblings may still be placed in different temporary homes while waiting for the possibility of reunification. Project Visitation ensures that these siblings can continue to see one another and maintain their familial bonds.

It is estimated that one-third of children in Hawaii’s foster care system have a separated sibling and these children share that it’s one of the most difficult parts of being in foster care. And sadly, the reality is that many of the children in the program do not have opportunities to interact with each other
outside of PV visits.

Project Visitation originated through the State of Hawaii First Circuit Family Court and the Hawaii State
Department of Human Services (DHS) efforts to keep siblings connected. Children not only suffer the loss of their parents but also the loss of their siblings. Research indicates that sibling relationships are emotionally powerful and critically important throughout one’s entire lifetime. And in foster care, they take on more importance because they can provide the support otherwise not provided by the parents.

Our Project Visitation Program made in-person visitations and events a priority in 2022. With COVID-19 restrictions slowly being lifted, our dedicated and determined volunteers worked hard to bring siblings back together through various excursions, like visits to the beach or hanging out at the neighborhood park – anything to maintain this sibling relationship.

Group events increased and siblings enjoyed several opportunities to hang out with both their families and the other PV sibling groups. One such opportunity was at Ho’omaluhia, where youth enjoyed the beautiful gardens and duck pond, hosting duck families and a multitude of koi. Camp Connections was also reintroduced since the pandemic. For one weekend, brothers, sisters, and volunteers spent quality time at the Kroc Center Hawaii in Kapolei, rediscovering friendships within their kin. Lucky Strike, sponsored by Golden State Foods, was another fun occasion. Siblings enjoyed bowling and arcade games. The year ended with a Holiday Sibling Bash at Dave & Buster’s, sponsored by EPIC Ohana’s HI H.O.P.E.S. and CASA. All of the youth had a great time playing games, winning prizes, receiving gifts, and eating a lot of food to celebrate the holidays together.
A very warm to our gracious event sponsors for their help in bringing siblings closer, as well as the funding’s received from the Victoria S. & Bradley L. Geist Foundation, the Judiciary, the City and County of Honolulu, and our donors. And a very heartfelt thanks to all of our volunteers “Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon another.”

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