Keep Siblings Together this North Texas Giving Day
A sibling relationship is the most unique and special bond many people will ever have. Having a brother or sister often means having someone who’s in your corner for things big and small. It starts with whispers from top to bottom bunk late into the night, and, later, a quick text sent before a big presentation when you need a pep talk the most.
Jonathan’s Place recognizes the extreme value of these sibling relationships – especially for children who have already suffered abuse or neglect. Research from the University of New Mexico Health Science Center has shown that one of the biggest risks for developing youth is suffering in isolation, but siblings can provide the type of unconditional support that prevents this risk. Having someone to express their fears and worries to can be therapeutic for young people, greatly reducing their risk of anxiety and depression.
Serving 19 counties across North Texas, Jonathan’s Place is deeply rooted in the community, and it is also the only shelter in North Texas that accepts children under 5 – helping to ensure that sibling groups can stay together. But keeping brothers and sisters together through emergency shelter to foster and eventual adoption takes a considerable amount of resources and is only possible with help from our generous donors, like you.
This North Texas Giving Day, will you make a gift to help keep siblings together and give them a safe place, a loving home, and a promising future?
Vera Robinson knows well the benefits of ensuring that brothers and sisters can remain together following the trauma of abuse and neglect. She joined Jonathan’s Place back in March as our Director of Foster Care and Adoption after years of working at Child Protective Services.
As Vera describes it, “Siblings are the longest relationships you’ll have in your life. You’re together from birth – and maintaining that sibling connection keeps the kids connected not only to themselves, but to their culture and history. If we can keep that one connection constant, they thrive so much better.”
With her experience in working to protect kids who have suffered extreme abuse and neglect, Vera also knows first-hand the unique challenges that come along with keeping siblings together through foster care and adoption. She pauses to reflect on one sibling pair she recently placed after their time in our Emergency Shelter had come to an end. The brothers were 7 and 3, and that larger age gap presented a challenge – many willing families were not prepared to take on kids at such different stages. Fortunately, with enough time, she was able to place the boys in a loving foster home in Fort Worth, where they are originally from.
Vera recognizes that this work is only possible with help from generous donors.
“Thank you for your support – it makes such a difference, because our work is not done.”
Keeping siblings together also helps ease the adjustment into foster care for sibling groups. Oftentimes an older sibling will naturally take on the role of the parent to protect their younger siblings from the abuse they were experiencing in their former situation – part of our role in keeping brothers and sisters together is to recognize when this has happened and work to correct it.
Annette Shelton, our Assistant Director of Foster Care & Adoption, has seen this dynamic play out. One story she recalls was an older sister who was concerned for her younger siblings during their medical appointments, taking mental notes and asking questions in the same way a loving parent would be. The staff at Jonathan’s Place stepped in to reassure the child that she had done a great job caring for her siblings up to that point, but that now she could step back and be a kid. There were adults to look after the kids now.
“Sometimes it takes a little persistence because these kids often aren’t used to having an adult in that caretaker role. We just gently remind them again, you’re a kid – this is our job,” Annette explains. Eventually that child and all her siblings were placed in the same home, where they could lean on each other and begin to heal from their trauma.
Jonathan’s Place has a number of loving foster homes to place siblings like this, thanks to your support and our commitment to certifying LGBTQ+ families. Annette remembers one couple who had been turned down by multiple agencies because of their sexual orientation – but after getting certified with Jonathan’s Place, they have provided a safe and loving home for multiple children who wouldn’t have otherwise had one.
Anette also knows well that all this work is only possible thanks to donor support.
As she says, “Our donors are wonderful – and the things we are able to offer our families and children because of them are huge. I wish every donor could see how excited the kids are when they get to go into our warehouse and pick out a new coat or new clothes – it’s really amazing.”
A safe place. A loving home. A promising future. That is what Jonathan’s Place offers every abused and neglected child, teen, and youth who comes through our doors. And we have been doing just that since 1991 – thanks to your support.
We are proud to be able to meet the individual needs of the kids we serve through trauma-informed programming, age-appropriate resources, and wraparound care and support systems. Our RESET program, for example, provides a safe haven for children and youth who have been victims of sex trafficking. This comprehensive program offers not only shelter and support, but also life skills and therapy to help our residents heal and thrive.
We fundamentally believe every child deserves the chance to heal from the trauma of abuse and neglect.
Our mission would not be possible without the support of our community: friends, donors, and volunteers. This North Texas Giving Day, we invite you to help us fulfill our commitment to provide a safe place, a loving home, and a promising future to each of our kids. Our goal is to raise $50,000 on this massive day of online giving – and we can only do it with your help. To find out more about how you can support Jonathan’s Place, click the link below to make a donation or learn about more of our volunteer opportunities!