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Children's Rights Litigation

Sibling Relationships are Sacred: Benefits of Sibling Placement and Contact

Social science support for your in-court and out-of-court legal advocacy.

A Tool for Lawyers

This tool was created by the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this document including Andrew Cohen, Dir. of Appellate Panel, Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services, Children & Family Law Division; Cathy Krebs, Committee Director, ABA Litigation Section Children’s Rights Litigation Committee; Jacob Tarjick, Staff Attorney, Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services, Children & Family Law Division; and DLA Piper. A special thank you to Tisha Ortiz and Lily Colby from With Lived Experience who provided feedback on the toolkit. Tisha and Lily are lived experience professionals who provide training and support to social workers, lawyers and judges on child welfare law and policy. 

Information is up to date as of May 2023.  To share information to be added to this tool or to provide feedback, please email Cathy Krebs.

Full Memo—PDF and Word

Executive Summary

Talking Points for Trial Counsel

Sample Motion for Sibling Joint Placement

Sample Motion for [Increased] Sibling Visitation

State Statues requiring or encouraging placement of siblings together

Lived experience perspectives on sibling separation in foster care

Social science research has found that children removed from their parents generally experience better outcomes when placed with siblings after removal from their parents:

Social Science Research has found that if siblings cannot be placed together, children’s best interests are served by frequent visitation:

Copyright © 2023 American Bar Association. May be reproduced, displayed, and distributed with the following credit: © 2023 American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission.

The views expressed herein have not been approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association.  Nothing contained in this memo is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel.