Signing of the Sibling Bill of Rights
Maine held its official signing of the Sibling Bill of Rights on June 19th at the University of Maine during the annual Teen Conference for teens in foster care. The Siblings Bill of Rights was inspired by the stories of youth in foster care across the region, many of whom have permanently lost touch with their brothers and sisters. Even in the positive situations where foster youth are adopted, contact with siblings is left to the discretion of adoptive families.
“On behalf of DHHS, I am proud to co-sign the Siblings Bill of Rights with Josh (Calcia), who represents the New England Youth Collaborative and YLAT. We thank youth in care for teaching us how important siblings are to one another and for advocating for us to do a better job,” said Daniel Despard, Child Welfare Director of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child and Family Services. Josh agreed saying, “This bill is important to me because when my brother was adopted, I was not able to see him and I don’t want other youth to face the same situation.”
Commissioners from the states of Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island are hosting their individual state signings of the Siblings Bill of Rights throughout 2012.
Please see more information about the Teen Conference under Youth Leadership.