About Sibling Connections

Sibling Connections is the only organization in Massachusetts designed to strengthen the sibling bond of children separated by foster care. While the sibling relationship is the longest, and one of the most important, relationships most people have in their lives, this is especially true for children who are removed from their families because of abuse or neglect. In many instances, a brother or sister might literally be the only constant relationship in a child’s life.

Mission

The primary goal of Sibling Connections is to support the creation of enduring family relationships and community connections for sisters and brothers who experience foster care. Our work is accomplished through innovative programs and practices that restore and strengthen the lives of siblings who have been separated when placed in the public foster care system.

Judy was recently awarded the “Angel of Adoption: for Massachusetts 2010” by The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in Adoption™ program, at an awards ceremony and gala event in Washington, DC, October 6, 2010.

“As I think back over a lifetime of wonderful gifts that I have received from friends and family, I am struck by the power of one small gift wrapped in lavender tissue paper. My 13-year-old daughter gave me that transformative gift. It was a silver paperweight inscribed with the words, “What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Would Not Fail?”

What a fabulous question! As a foster parent, I knew immediately what I would do.

  • I would inspire the nation to re-envision foster care in America.
  • I would help the nation turn around and embrace the 800,000 children we have place in the public foster care system.
  • I would create a Menu of Engagement Opportunities – a dozen stellar replicable programs that would help Americans re-think, re-envision, and re-design the way we care for our most vulnerable children.
  • I would collaborate with A+ people to create, launch, and sustain innovative programs that provide enduring relationships and community connections for children in the public foster care system.

This one simple gift was a catalyst. I sold my businesses, became a full time child advocate for children in the public foster care system, and began working with wonderful people to design outstanding programs that support the building of enduring relationships for children who experience foster care.

In 2004, we began a year-round sibling connection initiative for sisters and brothers experiencing foster care. The first program was Camp To Belong MA, a summer camp designed to connect siblings ages 8 – 20 years, who have been placed in separate foster homes. Camp To Belong was founded by Lynn Price, a former youth in care who knows first hand about the power of the sibling connection.

Camp To Belong MA launched in August 2005. We just experienced our fifth summer season in the Berkshires! This fall we began Season Five of our year-round program, Sibling Sundays in Easthampton, MA. Another chapter of Sibling Sundays began in November for siblings living in the eastern part of Massachusetts. Our goal is to provide year-round connection opportunities for every sister and brother in the Commonwealth. We hope you will find our work worthy of your support!”

Judy Cockerton – Founder & President Sibling Connections