May 2, 2012

Hartford, CT – Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) joined fellow legislators and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to support legislation that would allow children in DCF care to visit siblings and maintain their family bond during long term separation.

“The family unit is so important to the survival of a young child’s well being,” said state Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven), who is another co-sponsor of the bill. “These kids are going through an extremely tough time. Anything we can do to give them control of their own well being is powerful to their success. Nothing can replace the love and protection siblings give to one another.”

The bill seeks to resolve a critical issue with children in DCF care: when they are taken into custody because of parental abuse or neglect, their connections with their siblings are often traumatically interrupted.

“This bill will be instrumental in improving the lives of thousands of foster youth who yearn to be able to grow up with their brothers and sisters,” said Alixes Rosado, 23, of Manchester, who experienced such separation from his three siblings while he was in foster care.

Senate Bill 156 (LCO 3989) establishes a minimum baseline of an average one visit per week between siblings who are in DCF care in Connecticut and who live within 50 miles of each other, unless such visits are deemed to be not in the best interest of each sibling.

The bill also directs DCF to meet with youth representatives to draft a ‘Sibling Bill of Rights’ which would be incorporated into DCF policy, shared with children in DCF care, and presented to the legislature’s Select Committee on Children.

Senator Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain), who is Senate Chair of the Select Committee on Children said, “This bill unites perhaps the only family that these children have left – their siblings. It guarantees that they will have a family life which heretofore has been denied.”

“Being placed into foster care is traumatic for any child, and that trauma is only compounded when siblings are separated,” said DCF Commissioner Joette Katz.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.