State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

KST by Adoption (Keeping Siblings Together--pronounced "kissed")

KST by Adoption’s mission is to reunite siblings separated by foster care into permanent homes.

Ohio's opioid problem is not news to anyone. However, the drastic increase in the number of children in foster care due (in part) to this epidemic is something that many don't think about. From 2016 - 2017, there was a 23% increase State-wide in the number of children entering foster care. About 25% of these children are never able to go back home and become available for adoption.

Approximately 3010 children in Ohio are waiting to be adopted. Two-thirds of those children (about 2007) have siblings. Brothers and sisters are often separated in foster care because of a lack of families' finding adoptive families for sibling groups is even harder.

In NE Ohio, many children are living apart from their brothers and sisters and are losing hope of ever being reunited. The goal of KST by Adoption is to create a program specifically to raise awareness and recruit families who are able to provide permanent homes where these siblings will be allowed to finish growing up together.

KST by Adoption would allow us to put a community based plan into place to find, develop and support families who enable kids from foster care to grow up with their brothers and sisters.

Our vision is to develop communities that embrace the belief that siblings deserve to grow up together, who step up to meet that need and then who support one another (with the assistance of the agency and program administrator).

1. Raise awareness of the number of children in our community who need to be adopted with their siblings.

2. Develop community-based partnerships to assist in identification and development of families who can fill this need as well as to provide meeting space, material support, etc.

3. Community-based training specifically for families seeking to adopt siblings we will bring the training to the community as opposed to expecting families to travel to the agency

4. Community-based support groups for families created through adoption will naturally build from this system.

KST by Adoption would be established within the targeted neighborhoods with the ability to replicate the program in other communities with the potential of eventually making it a statewide initiative having a tremendous impact on sibling groups within the foster system.

KST by Adoption would decrease the state's fiscal responsibility for the sibling groups. A conservative estimate of the cost of one child in foster care is $25,000 per year. The cost to the public for each child who leaves foster care without a permanent family is around $300,000.

Creating these supportive communities is the first step to raising awareness of the lack of and the overwhelming need for adoptive families. The work we plan to do would also help families establish roots within a community and to work together to provide for our most vulnerable children.