Office of Children and Family Services

Sibling Placement in Foster Care (Follow-Up Report)

New York State’s foster care programs are administered by 58 local social services districts (57 counties and New York City) that are overseen by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). According to State law and regulations, siblings placed in foster care should be kept together unless it is impossible or inadvisable to do so. If siblings in foster care are separated, provisions should be made for them to see one another regularly. In addition, the reason for their separation must be appropriately documented, as must each of their visits with one another.

In audit report 2005-S-70, we examined whether these requirements were being met in five local districts outside New York City. We found the requirements were not always being met, as the reason for separate placements was not always documented, and when the reason was documented, it was not always appropriate. We also found the local districts did not always document the participation of professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, in separation decisions, as required by regulations. In addition, in some instances, there was no documentation indicating that separated siblings had visited with one another as often as required. We recommended that sibling placements be more closely overseen by OCFS, and when we followed up on these matters with OCFS officials, we found that they had made significant progress in implementing our recommendations.

For a complete copy of Report 2007-F-26 click here.