ST. LUCIE COUNTY – Large sibling groups are tough for the child-welfare community. They get split up. There aren’t enough homes willing to keep them together. Separation often means disconnection.
But not always.
Sometimes, even after being separated, the system works beyond expectations.
That happened recently when a sibling group of seven children - separated into three foster homes - found their way back home thanks to the partnership between their respective caregivers and their family.
They all worked together; if one child had a birthday, all the children came to celebrate. If there was a trip to the park, everyone was invited. The caregiver families also had multiple phone calls with the children’s family, assuring them that the children were safe and staying in touch.
The children in Mig McDonald’s home were placed in a special academic program and bloomed in their education - so much so, that when it was time to reunify, their mother agreed to let them finish out the school year at Ms. McDonald’s home.
All the children are now home, stronger and healthier than ever, in large part to the fact that the family now has a support system of caregivers.
The caregivers - Allison Hamilton, Jocelyne Fimiano and Mig McDonald - were nominated for statewide recognition and recently won as a team CCKids’ Topaz GEM (Going the Extra Mile) award.
The also were featured in a recent taping of Forever Family, a program that leverages the power of local media to raise awareness for the local foster-care system and to help find adoptive homes for children.
“This is exactly the kind of outcome we want for all children in care,” said Christina Kaiser, CCKids’ community relations director. “Our foster care network is trained to work closely with biological families to ensure children retain important family connections and to help soften the transitions into and out of care.”