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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Ohio House Bill 448: Advocating for Sibling Visitation

Update: Ida Yarngo of Franklin County was excited to to participate in the recent interested parties meeting that Representatives LaTourette and Boyd hosted on Tuesday, January, 16, to introduce HB 448: Sibling Rights Legislation.
Ida shared that when she came to the United States from Liberia, everyone and everything that she had ever known was now literally a continent away. And the one familiar comfort to her was her brother. And then she was separated from that connection as well. When that happened, Ida felt incredibly alone.
She was honored to have the opportunity to meet with the legislators who are championing this legislation, and to thank them for standing beside her to improve policy regarding this important issue.    

The current wording of Ohio House Bill 448 defines a sibling as:

  • Someone who "shares at least one biological or adoptive parents, or has been raised in the household as a sibling."

It is important that this definition remains broad, because:

  • When families break down, relationships become complex and complicated.
  • Sibling relationships might include biological siblings who were relinquished or removed at birth, half-siblings, step-siblings or current/former foster siblings.
  • Not all couples are married, so a sibling could include: "Mom's ex-boyfriend's daughter."

It will also be important for the wording to remain firm in order to truly make those sibling connections HAPPEN:

Research demonstrates that the sibling bond is stronger between brothers and sisters from dysfunctional families. In abusive and/or neglectful families, it is common for siblings to nurture and protect one another. When parents are neglectful or abusive, older siblings often voluntarily take on a quasi-parental role.

Quote from a Time Magazine article about "The New Science of Siblings:"
  • “From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales, our protective barrier against family upheaval.
  • "They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys.
  • "Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings may be the only people we'll ever know who truly qualify as partners for life.

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